"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)
If you have paid any attention to Bible verses floating around the internet, you've seen this verse popping up lots of places. I used to say that it was my favourite verse, followed closely by Philippians 4:19. (My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.) And then it became so overused and so misused that I stopped using it.
And then I re-read it - in context! It's amazing what happens when you finally read a verse in context.
If you haven't really read this verse in context before, I'll give you a chance right now.
Philippians 4:10-20 (NLT)
How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me. Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty.
As you know, you Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help when I first brought you the Good News and then traveled on from Macedonia. No other church did this. Even when I was in Thessalonica you sent help more than once. I don’t say this because I want a gift from you. Rather, I want you to receive a reward for your kindness.
At the moment I have all I need—and more! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God. And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.
Now all glory to God our Father forever and ever! Amen.
I really like the way the way the NIV has translated this verse:
"I can do all this through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13 (NIV)
I don't think that Paul is saying that he can do literally anything. He's saying that he was able to get through this list of struggles (as well as other struggles) because of the love of Jesus and the support system in place through Jesus' church/body.
I'm feeling this verse more these days. Our little church (when you read "little" think little) is putting on a Vacation Bible School in a couple weeks. And by "little" I mean, little manpower, little funding, little space. But we need to do this. Our church meets in a very low-income neighbourhood. We need to get out there and meet some of these families so that we can share the love of Jesus with them. We're not doing that between 10:00 and 12:30 on a Sunday morning. So we're taking this huge step of faith and putting together a from-scratch Vacation Bible School in a short period of time with few resources, because it's what God is calling us to do.
And as our pastor, Steve, was discussing the Vacation Bible School on Sunday morning, he used Philippians 4:13 to say that we can do it. And we CAN do it, but we're going to need some prayer support from the church that Jesus has set in place.
I've said it before, but I'll say it again. (And likely will again, in the future.)
Cover us! We're going in!
We can do this, through Christ, who gives us strength.
So please, say a prayer for us. We're going to need it!