I have often heard Christians quote the words of Apostle Paul when he declared that he can do all things with Christ’s help.
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
In context Paul was speaking of how at times he has abundance and at other times he suffers limitation. He asserted that he is not disturbed by either option since Christ enables him to endure and live with whatever comes his way.
“I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” Philippians 4:12
Like many things in the Bible there can be several applications, including the literal and the figurative, as well as the surface meaning and the Spirit inspired application.
Paul’s statement does not seem to be a faith declaration but a simple statement of fact. Paul had learned to find Christ’s sufficiency in every situation.
However, we can take that word and make it a word of faith, a faith declaration of our own. We can speak into the face of a challenge and declare our confidence that Christ will enable us to deal with what confronts us. This is the application I often hear from Christians.
It is wonderful to know that, with Christ’s help and God on our side, nothing can overpower us. We can endure, press through and experience God’s blessing, no matter what is served up to us.
“What, then, do we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31
“And Jesus said to him, If you are able to believe! All things are possible to the one who believes” Mark 9:23
God often calls us to step outside our comfort zone in order to achieve the things He is making possible. Gideon had to step into a place where he felt very insecure, so he asked God for multiple confirmations. Barak was called to go to a battle that he was afraid of. He asked Deborah the prophetess to go with him. Both of those men had the call of God but both felt challenged by the call.
It is in circumstances like that where Paul’s declaration becomes a great faith statement on our part. We look at the challenge, possibly with our knees knocking, and remind ourselves that with God on our side there is nothing we cannot face or endure.
God has promised to be with us, even to the limit. So He will be with us in all of our extreme circumstances. We are not alone or left on our own.
“Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the world.” Matthew 28:20
Life presents us with some hefty challenges at times, especially around health threats, financial struggles, spiritual battles, relational upheavals, stress and striving in many situations. We can feel afraid, or pressed to our limit, challenged by uncertainty, or just overwhelmed by what confronts us.
Yet even in the valley of the shadow of death your good shepherd is there to guide you, protect you and comfort you as you journey through.
I also like Paul’s focus on the Lord. We are able to endure or press through anything and everything that comes our way, but not in our own strength. Paul did not say, “I’m made of tough stuff, so I can do all things.” Instead he said he could endure “through Him”, through Christ.
Your greatest danger in challenging situations may be to rely on yourself or think you can get by on your own. The Lord knows the way through the wilderness, so let Him lead you. Don’t go rushing off on your own reliance.
While Paul focused his comment on his physical and financial situation, we can apply his statement to every situation we are likely to confront. So don’t be afraid to start applying it widely and freely in your life.
Can you get through your present family challenges, or you health challenges, or your financial challenges, or your feelings of inadequacy, or your sense of being overwhelmed?
You don’t have to get through anything on your own. “Through Christ” you can get through, not through your own wits, talent, personality, training, resources or the like.
So take a moment to think about where you are right now and what is challenging your life, your heart or your mind. Consider the thing you need to get through and then commit it to God. Then, relying on God, make the quiet declaration that “I Can Do All Things Through Christ.”