As I prepared for Bible study this week on Philippians 4:10-13, I was surprised by the differences in perspective on Philippians 4:13.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me
Norman Vincent Peale offered this advice to a man with problems (found here):
As you walk down the streets tonight I suggest that you repeat certain words which I shall give you. Say them over several times after you get into bed. When you awaken tomorrow, repeat them three times before rising. On the way to your important appointment three additional times. Do this with an attitude of faith and you will receive sufficient strength and ability to deal with this problem. Later, if you wish, we can go into an analysis of your basic problem, but whatever we come up with following that study, the formula which I am now going to give you can be a large factor in the eventual cure.
Folowing is the affirmation which I gave him- “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
In a 140 character tweet, John Piper says:
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil 4:13), like go hungry, get cancer, be killed and go home.
Philippians 4:13 is so much deeper than a mantra to be repeated in order to dunk a basketball, win the lottery, receive a scholarship, or take the Stanley Cup. It is a gentle assurance that we can make it through any trial to which God has called us because we are in Christ and carried along by his grace. That’s why Paul can say that he knows how to be at the bottom and at the top, because through Christ he can patiently endure any trial.