Monday, December 3, 2012

All Things Through Christ

"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."  Phil 4:13

This is one of my favorite verses in scripture.  But sadly, I think it has been so misused lately that it has caused it to lose some of its meaning.  Exactly what does Christ give us the strength to do?

I love the fact that people use it to give Glory to God for their achievements.  But does it keep us from focusing on what Paul was really trying to say here?

Phil 4:10-14
I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it.  I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.   I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Paul is thanking the church in Philippi for their support of his work.  Further, he is explaining to them that when he has been "in need"  he really hasn't been in need because Christ gives him the strength to do his will whether he has money or not.  Christ has given him the strength to be content whether he has a lot of money, or no money. 

Is it only about our finances?  I don't think so.  It is easy to ask for God's strength when we want to finish a marathon, or win a football game, or to get through college, or to complete some hard task we have to complete.  But a lot of the times when I see that verse being used, it is for things that are of no worth to God and the furthering of his Kingdom. 

Can we just as easily recite that scripture in our mind when we face difficult tasks that God is calling us to do for HIM?  Do we say it to ourselves when we feel the urge to pray with someone, or to talk to someone who desperately needs to hear the good news of Christ, forgive someone who in our own flesh and strength it is impossible to do?  Do we remind ourselves to rely on God's strength to love someone who is difficult to love?  Do we use that scripture to help us walk away from a life, habit, or addiction that is not pleasing to the Lord?  Do we use this scripture when we are financially in a hard place and we must choose to use what money we do have for God, or ourselves?    Or when God calls us into a ministry that seems just too big?How about when you see someone struggling in sin, and you know you should talk to them, but you don't know what to say, or how they will take it?  Or how about when we need to break down walls of pride, bitterness, anger, hate, unforgiveness, jealousy, etc. in our own hearts?  Can we rely on Christ's strength as easily if it is something that takes us out of our comfort zone?

 Certainly, when this scripture is used, even if out of context, it is being used to give God Glory.  But what kind of changes could we see in this dark world if we used this scripture to fuel our days to live our lives for him?