Monday, November 4, 2013

Philippians 4:13 (Bazinga!)

You know the verse, everyone quotes it. "I can do all things through him (Christ) who strengthens me."

But as a teacher, I know that context is king. How about reading the entire paragraph that text comes from?

10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

After reading it, are you convinced that we use this text correctly? Here is how Matt puts it in Chapter 11:

Do you see now how Philippians 4: 13 is not about chasing your dreams, following your passion, pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, accomplishing anything you want with God’s help? It is instead the testimony of those who have Christ and have found Him supremely valuable, joyous, and satisfying. In a life constantly marked by these extreme highs and lows, Paul has found the great constant security, the great centering hope: Jesus Christ Himself.

That is not how I want it to read. I want it to be about power, healing, dominion over anything that stands in my way. I want it to be like Luke Skywalker's light sabre, crushing my enemies, putting fear in my foes. I want to stand on the mountain when it is all said and done, the wind blowing in hair.

And yet it is about power. Power to take the healing and the power to endure when the healing does not happen. Power in dominion and power when I have to submit. The power to crush my enemies and the power to let my enemies crush me. Mostly, it is about the power of living in the hands of a God whom I trust. I can do all things when all means all, and not just the good stuff that I want.

3 comments:

KC Bob said...

Thanks for sharing that Don. I have always loved the context of that verse. Here is my recent application of it.

I had a transcendent moment a few days ago that seemed to help me. Background: I have had back pain since Tuesday morning. The doc thinks my ankle pain is the result of stress fracture. Writing this from a wheelchair and have to wait a week to get an MRI.

So I am on my way to a root canal yesterday morning carrying a lot of physical pain and I hear the Holy Spirit whisper this to me.

“This is nothing Bob. After all you have overcome do you think that any of this will defeat you?”

I began to laugh out loud – for a long time.

I think that Phil 4:13 is about learning to be content and finding hope/strength in Christ when you need to overcome.

Don G said...

Thank you for sharing too. I struggle with all of the "promises" that are sold with the gospel so often. Kinda like the promises of a used car salesman or a vacuum cleaner salesman. I think I will take truth over promises any time.

Ya gotta love the Holy Spirit!

Don G said...

Thank you for sharing too. I struggle with all of the "promises" that are sold with the gospel so often. Kinda like the promises of a used car salesman or a vacuum cleaner salesman. I think I will take truth over promises any time.

Ya gotta love the Holy Spirit!