Moments ago, an advertisement appeared on my screen interrupting the documentary I was watching. It was an older man loudly speaking to a group of soccer players, quoting from the Apostle Paul found in Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.”
Great verse, right? I am not sure the coach was using it in context, however. I mean, I am not sure that when Paul wrote this verse he was hoping that athletes would use it as motivation to win a game. I am not even sure he was thinking of professionals seeking a job or students preparing for a final exam. It is just not what he had in mind. Most people I believe sell this verse short by using it as a personal motivation to become successful in an event they are about to become a player in.
I also don’t think Paul meant it to sound like God’s promises that if we are good or even join the family of God, He will give us whatever we want. God never promises that on earth we will have no more problems or that life will be easy. I am not saying that God can’t do these things I just believe that this text means so much more than this.
In the next few paragraphs, I want us to look at Philippians 4:13 meaning and see how it actually applies to our life. Here is the context Paul is in jail. In Paul’s day when you were incarcerated, you needed people to bring you basic needs food, water, clothing, and things like this. He is not in a good place.
This leads me to believe that this verse isn’t a promise that things will go our way. And by looking at the chapters before this verse we can see it’s actually quite the opposite. Philippians is a letter to the people of Philippi. They just sent a deacon to Rome to attend to the needs of Paul while he is in prison. He sends him back with this letter found in four beautiful chapters. In this letter Paul is telling the church I am thankful for your kindness and that God has taught him how to be content no matter what happens to him.
In Philippians 4 just a couple of verses before this famous one of verse 13, Paul is finishing up his letter by summarizing his thoughts on the previous 3 chapters. He is trying to teach us that his contentment is not based on his circumstances but on the person of Jesus. He is teaching us that we can find peace joy, and strength to get through our circumstances because the Power of Jesus Christ in you is enough.
The Apostle Paul in Philippians 4:13 says from a dingy jail cell that everything was taken from him and his basic needs are hardly being met. He writes, “I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me” as a loser.
Yes, that is exactly what I said Philippians 4:13 is for losers. It’s not a victory chant, it’s not a motivation to achieve success. It’s not to motivate the strong to become stronger. The meaning of Philippians 4:13 is for those who are struggling. It’s a reminder that in tough circumstances God is with you.
You can get through whatever life throws your way because God is with you. period dot!
I don’t know about you or what you are going through right now. Personally, I am not in a very pretty place at the moment. But, this verse challenges me to be content, because I have what matters most, Jesus Christ. Your trials, my trials, often distract me, however, today Philippians 4:13 reminds us to keep our eyes on Jesus. Because being in Jesus no matter what gives glory to Him.
Remember whatever you are facing, good or bad, easy or tough that God is with you and you can do all things through Christ, and he will see you through it.