I Can Do All Things

One of the most quoted verses in all of Scripture is Philippians 4:13. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” The verse is often used to assume that anything we purpose to do, anything that we set out for we can accomplish through Christ. But is that really what the verse is talking about? The answer to that question is ‘no’ that is not what this verse is talking about.

When we look at Scripture we must always look to the context of the passage and this verse is no different. So what is the context of Philippians 4:13?

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. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 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. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:10-13 English Standard Version

The immediate context shows that Paul is referring to being able to do all things through Christ no matter what the circumstances are that he has been put into. It is a verse that gives hope in suffering and trials. It is not a verse to say that we can accomplish anything we set our minds on.

So whenever someone uses this verse we need to ask ourselves, “How are they using this verse?” Is the verse being used properly based on its context or is it being, as it often is, taken out of context?

Rejoice in the Lord

At the beginning of Philippians chapter three, Paul tells the church to rejoice in the Lord. Now, this doesn’t seem extraordinary because we know we are to rejoice in the Lord. That is a theme we see over and over in Scripture. But what is extraordinary about this instance is what we have seen discussed in the first two chapters of the letter.

In chapter one, Paul talks about his personal suffering for the Gospel. He does not know whether he is going to live or die. But whichever way it is, he is going to count it as gain and rejoice. And in chapter two, he talks about the suffering of Christ on the cross for the glory of God and for our salvation. He further discusses the trials that have awaited him and also Christ’s servant, Epaphroditus, and how he almost died in the service of Christ.

And after all of this, Paul says to rejoice in the Lord. Why? Because the Gospel has advanced, Christ is exalted, and God is glorified. That is the key, the advancement of the Gospel, the exaltation of Jesus Christ and the glory of God. That is what our lives are to be all about. That is to be the focus.

After all, Romans 11:36 says:

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (ESV)

Everything in this life is to be for Christ. For God. For His Kingdom and for His purposes. We are not our own. We are merely servants, vessels to be used for His glory. Let us not forget what our role is and to spend today and each day rejoicing in the Lord.