I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
If there was ever a verse torn apart by being ripped out of context so often, today’s passage is it. A popular scriptural reference from the world of “Christian” pop psychology, this verse is to be memorized and written on your bathroom mirror with a permanent marker. There it is on the wide receiver’s shoes. Look closely through the quarterback’s facemask, and you can make it out on black strips under his eyes. The conclusion most make is this: Whatever I want to do, God will give me the strength to do it. But always remember this key principle of understanding Scripture: Context ultimately determines the meaning.
In this passage, the apostle Paul is writing about contentment through the peaks and valleys of life. He knows what it means to be in need and to have plenty. He has experienced being well-fed and being hungry. Through real-life lessons, he “learned in whatever situation I am to be content” (Philippians 4:11).
So, Philippians 4:13 does not mean that whatever I want, God will give me the strength to do it. Rather, whatever circumstance God brings into my life, whatever experience he takes me through, he will give me all the strength I need. I can embrace every day with the strength that comes from my Father.
Lord, thank you for that great promise. Thank you for the promise that you will give me all I need to do whatever you call me to do. In Jesus’ name. Amen.