I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 is probably one of the most widely known verses in the bible. This verse was part of a letter to the church of Philippi. It written by apostle Paul while he was imprisoned in Rome, for preaching the gospel of Christ, around 61 – 62 A.D. The letter was one of encouragement, for the church to remain steadfast in their faith and obedient to our Lord Jesus Christ.
While Philippians 4:13 is one of the most recognized and remembered bible verses today, it is also one that is very often misused and taken out of context.
Philippians 4:13 is often used as a blank check promise to be successful at whatever we desire. That God will give us the strength to always achieve winning results in life. We may treat God as our personal genie; whatever we wish for from Him will be granted. We may have heard an athlete , or someone of importance say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” just before a big event. Meaning that because they have Jesus, they will have the strength through Him, to achieve success and the results that they desire. God doesn’t give us the strength to do whatever we wish for, but He does teach us that He is our anchor when life knocks us down.
We are not promised a trouble free life, but quite the contrary. The bible tells us that in this life we will have trouble. James 1:2-4 says this: Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. And in John 16:33 I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be corageous! I have conquered the world.
Paul is saying in verses 11 and 12 of Philippians, he has been beat up, imprisoned, hungry, and in need. However, Jesus sustains him. Paul’s identity is found in Jesus, and he is satisfied in Him. He can get through the circumstances he is facing because of Jesus. And because of Jesus, Paul is content with his circumstances.
Philippians 4:13 is about contentment. It’s not about all of our dreams, wishes, or desires coming true. It’s about being joyful, satisfied, and steadfast in life. Even through the hardest of circumstances, and when life itself seems impossible.
Life is hard, we will get knocked down, and there may be times when we feel there is no hope. We must remember where our strength is found. Our strength is found in Jesus Christ. And when Christ lives in us, then our identity is in Him. So when we do all things through Christ, we then have strength, peace, and contentment to press on through Him. Even though our circumstances in life may not be what we imagined.