I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
Philippians 4:13 is one of the most famous and recognizable verses in the Bible. Yet despite its popularity, the meaning of Philippians 4:13 is often missed. For many this famous verse is simply distilled to a personal motivation to get through something difficult.
This view totally misses the point that Paul had in mind when he wrote this verse. It misses the depth and beauty of what it is actually communicating.
Philippians 4:13 reminds us that we have the ability to endure trials and hardships when we keep our eyes on Jesus. It’s not about what WE can do, but rather about what GOD can do. When Paul wrote “I can do all things through Christ” he didn’t mean it as a promise that things will go our way. Instead, he wrote this verse to give us hope in the midst of our struggles and trials.
There’s so much more to this verse, so let’s dive deeper into the Philippians 4:13 meaning.
The Context Of Philippians 4:13
The book of Philippians was a letter written by the Apostle Paul to a church in the city of Philippi. In Chapter 4 Paul is wrapping up his letter and sharing his final thoughts.
Paul ends by telling his readers that their circumstances don’t have to dictate their happiness. He’s saying that he has learned to be content regardless of whether his life is going well or terrible. Whether he’s hungry or well-fed. Free or in prison. Has much or nothing. He’s content not based on his circumstances, but rather on a person: Jesus.
In his letter Paul is trying to get across to this church, and us today, that you can have peace, joy, and be content regardless of your circumstances.
Paul’s not just saying this, he’s living it. He wrote these words from Rome while sitting under house arrest. He’s in a bad spot, and he can’t rely on his own strength.
It is while imprisoned, with no freedom, likely hungry, and on his way to death, Paul writes these words: “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
The Philippians 4:13 Meaning
As we dive into what Philippians 4:13 means it’s important that we don’t lose sight of the context. This verse is not hype for the big game or motivation to conquer. Rather the context shows us it is encouragement in almost certain defeat because in our weakness God is strong.
I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me Meaning
Philippians 4:13 is the answer to the question Paul asked one verse prior, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.”
What’s the secret? “I can do ALL THINGS through Christ who strengthens me.”
Paul’s contentment did not come through an inner determination or the power of positive thinking. It was Jesus Christ who gave him strength. And Paul knew that if he had Jesus and nothing else then he had enough.
The promise of Philippians 4:13 is that though we will face hardships and go through trials God will bring us through. Not only that but we can have peace, joy, and be content even on our darkest days.
Paul is living proof of this. He was beaten, whipped, shipwrecked, jailed, and eventually killed for his beliefs. He didn’t always have an easy life, but he constantly writes about how he is full of joy, at peace, and content. How? Because he has Jesus.
The same can be true for you. You can find peace, you can experience joy, and you can be content regardless of how much or how little you have. IF you have Christ.
3 Practical Ways You Can Do All Things Through Christ
I want to end by giving you three practical ways you can apply the meaning of Philippians 4:13 to your everyday life.
1. Don’t Let Your Circumstances Determine Your Joy
Most people look at the circumstances of their life and if it’s good they are happy, and if it’s bad they are sorrowful. But Philippians 4:13 tells us our circumstances don’t have to dictate our joy.
This verse challenges us to put things into proper perspective. We think we might need all these other things to be happy and content. But Paul challenges us to view happiness through a different lens. All we really need is Jesus.
2. Keep Your Eyes On Jesus
Paul wasn’t content because he had some superpower. He’s not some self-help guru telling us to dig deep within ourselves. The message of Philippians 4:13 is actually the opposite. Paul is saying he isn’t enough, and he looks to Jesus to give him strength.
In the midst of his darkest days, Paul kept his eyes on Jesus. That’s what got him through. Paul understood that through Christ he could do all things. Even be content in a prison cell.
This passage should challenge us to keep our eyes in the right place. When we get distracted and start focusing on all the problems around us, we lose sight of Jesus and forget that he’s in control. But when we keep our eyes on him we can get through whatever it is that’s in front of us.
If you are looking for a great resource to help you spend time with God I HIGHLY recommend Mark Moore’s Core 52: A Fifteen-Minute Daily Guide to Build Your Bible IQ in a Year
3. Jesus + Nothing = Everything
This is a simple math equation I think every Christian should memorize. We need this reminder, that if Jesus really is who he says he is, then nothing else matters when compared to him. We can literally have nothing, but if we have Christ we have enough.
If I could sum up Philippians 4:13 I put it this way: Jesus + nothing = everything.
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