You may be questioning whether it is truly possible that you can ‘do all things through Christ’. This article will help you to unpick the meaning behind this biblical quote, which is found in Philippians 4:13.
It is the Bible verse often referred to when people are starting a new challenge in their lives, when they have big plans or are taking a long journey. This verse is full of optimism for the future, it shows faith in God’s plan and strength in character. But what does it really mean in the modern world?
What is the verse referring to?
Let’s take a look at the verse in context, so that we can begin to understand the circumstances surrounding it.
“But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:10-13)
In this passage the apostle Paul is commending the Philippians for their generosity in the past and encouraging them to continue on this path in the future. It is a passage of praise, but also of hope for the future.
It may remind you of the words of Ecclesiastes (Ecclesiastes 9:10), “”Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might.” The meaning is very similar, it is about grabbing hold of any opportunity with both hands and pursuing it for the sake of Christ, who will strengthen you in your mission.
Similarly, Paul states (in Colossians 3:17) that, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” This sentiment is repeated throughout the Bible, that one should do good in the name of the Lord and that He should be present in all our actions. This can also been seen in Proverbs 16:3 which states that, “The Lord honors those who commit their works to Him and who strive for excellence in everything they do.”
Let’s take a deeper look…
This passage from the Bible may appear to be relatively simple at first, however its meaning is much more complex than it first appears. The message of Philippians 4:10-13 should not to be confused with using God’s name to gain success. In fact, this is a common misconception. In this Bible verse, focused on throughout this article, God has promised to bless you for faithfulness and dedication, nowhere does the verse promise success.
Now, take a closer look at the verse we are studying, you might notice that there is another message hidden within the words. During this passage Paul redefines the meaning of words such as need and abundance for Christians. Yes, the passage is about going forth in the name of God, and doing good in his name, but it also speaks of the fact that abundance is internal, rather than external.
Abundance is not defined as having material possessions, but instead being content in your spiritual and mental attitude. It has been argued that here, Paul is talking about the ability to be self-sufficient, and make-do, in all situations as when you have Christ, you have everything you need.
This is seen more clearly in verses 17 and 18 when Paul says, “Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. Indeed, I have all and abound …” He is stating that because he has Christ in his life, he has everything he needs. It does not matter what his material circumstances on this Earth are, his faith will enable him to walk the path he is supposed to.
The key part of this passage, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me…” is revolutionary, as he is acknowledging that yes, one might experience suffering, hunger and want, but that by having faith in Christ, you will be able to shoulder any burden you face. Paul shared this word having experienced many hardships himself in the name of the Lord. He had continued to preach the word of the Lord, “…in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness, often in hunger and thirst, in fasting often, in cold and nakedness” (II Corinthians 11:27).
The passage, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me…” is often shared when referring to following your dreams and goals in life and that is perfectly fine. However, remember that it also speaks of being abundant in spirituality and in faith. That your faith in Christ can support you through all difficulties in life, but it does not necessarily mean that all things will be successful. However, remember that it does mean that if you have this faith, you will be able to shoulder any burdens you face in life.