Can I 'Do All Things?' Examining Philippians 4:13
- Friday, September 05, 2008
Val explained (in a much more appropriate way for a 3-year-old than I am about to) that if we trust God to provide for us, take care of us, and direct our paths, while we focus on keeping His commandments and loving others (i.e. "doing"), instead of the other way around, or the world's way, then we're set. It's the order in which God wanted things done.
This totally jives with "doing" God's word and seeking to have his righteousness first. It totally inverts the direction of the pyramid. That's what being able to "do all things through Christ" does. Instead of "self-actualization" as the ultimate, final step, Christians can come to "God-actualization," if you will, involving true self worth, ministry, repentance, study, love, as the primary step, and then see their more basic needs met.
Now the question remains "what does that look like?" When this concept is really and truly played out in life, how does it look? Can it be done? How radical an idea is this?
If you want to read a very real, very inhumanly possible example from the still-too-recent past of what "doing all things through Christ" means through the lens we've constructed here today, please read Dave Burchett's excellent article: "Where Do You see Jesus? Contrasting Responses to PA Shooting." Warning: bring tissues.
There's nothing wrong with Philippians 4:13 giving you encouragement when you feel inadequate. But ask yourself: what have you come through in life that you could never have "done" except for that same strength that led Jesus to be able to live sinlessly and carry through with a brutal sacrifice He could have called upon angels to stop?
Let me leave you with this perhaps-disquieting thought... If the meaning here is, as the Commentary suggests, "I have strength for all things," then consider whether "all things" involves stuff we'd normally try to avoid – problems, suffering, trials, tribulations, and all manner of troubles that cause you to need that strength? Could it be that's where God wants you for His greatest glory to show His perfect strength? After all, Paul was in prison (yet content and still spreading the gospel) when he wrote these famous words...
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