Drinking Deeply

Thursday, December 01, 2005 at 3:23 PM

Rethinking memory verses Phil. 4:13

13I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

This is another one of those verses that I stumbled across and reading it in context showed me how poorly I interpreted it.

For some reason, I had always saw Paul's statement as a statement of power and of ability. Similar to his admonition to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:7 (though that verse has been really badly misinterpreted by some other people, I'll not get into that). Something along the lines of "with Christ, I can do all things." with the emphasis (to me) on the "do all things."

But lets read it in context:

Philippians 4)

10I 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. 11Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12I 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. 13I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Paul rejoices that the church was concerned, but reiterates that he was not in dire need for he had learned how to be content in any situation. Not that he could overcome any situation, but he could endure. He knew how to be brought low, how to abound, face plenty and hunger, abundance and need, and now we run into the verse, "I can do all things through him who strengthens me."

So what does it mean? It doesn't mean that Paul had the power to overcome need, to provide, but rather it meant that he had the power to face and endure. God was telling him (once again) that "grace is sufficient, my power is made perfect in weakness." The verse is not an active voice, but rather in a passive one. "I can endure" rather than "I can do" would almost be a preferable interpretation.

Because Christ is sufficient, we can endure all need, all suffering, all brokenness. He alone is our life, our bread, our water. Though we may be brought low, He will bring is through. Glory be to the God in the highest.

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