We believe our spiritual foundation strengthens and sustains us through any crisis.
I can do all things in/through Christ who strengthens me.
Many times this verse is singled out to indicate that we as Christians can do anything, without considering the context and the whole concepts included in this statement. The verses prior to this talk about contentment: Philippians 4:10 – 13“But I rejoice in the Lord greatly, that now at length you have revived your thought for me, wherein you did indeed take thought, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therein to be content. I know how to be abased, and I know also how to abound; in everything and in all things have I learned the secret both to be filled and to be hungry, both to abound and to be in want. I can do all things in Him that strengtheneth me.” I would like to use the analogy of our smartphones. Our phones have an amazing capacity to connect us with the world, reaching all around the world when connected to the power source. However, I have been in places while traveling that the phone service is not accessible, such as in more remote mountain areas, or even on a ship out on the ocean. Even though it is the same phone, it cannot do ‘diddly do’ because it is not connected to the power source. When we get connected, we can again access emails, phone calls, news updates, and social media. All that has changed is that we are now connected once again to the power source. And that is what Paul is telling us here. When connected to our power source as Christians, we have the ability to accomplish whatever God is calling us to do with our lives. And God may be calling you for one thing, and gifting you accordingly, while He can be calling me for something totally different. However, He will give us what we need to live out His purpose for our lives.
In the context of Philippians 4, Paul is telling us that he has learned how “to be content in all circumstances”, whether they are pleasant or not so pleasant circumstances. He has learned that no matter the outward circumstances when following God, we can find contentment because we can trust that God will give us the strength to deal with the circumstances of our lives, (for him it was in jail, in shipwrecks or sometimes in abundance) because God’s will sustains us and leads us where our intended life purpose can be met.
Just as we must turn on our phones and connect to the power source, we must all open our hearts to the power of God in order to accomplish His purposes. Some ways to do this are: being grounded in God’s Word, praying, being in a supportive community, and focusing on seeing God wherever our day may lead us.
And just as a phone is created for a specific purpose; to provide communication in a variety of ways, we are created for a specific purpose by God. We would not expect our phone to make dinner for us, neither might we expect ourselves to do those things outside our created purpose. Eric Liddell in “Chariots of Fire” could feel God’s pleasure when running at tremendous speeds and distances, whereas that does not seem to be my calling in the least. He was called to bring the Gospel to the people of China. We have a calling to support and encourage those with mental illness. A different calling, yet one in which, when we find ourselves living it out, we can find contentment and strength, no matter the outward circumstances. We can trust that God has a purpose and a plan, loves us, and wants good things for us. We may not cure mental illnesses in this decade, yet we can find contentment and hope as we stay connected to our Power Source, Christ Jesus, and live out our calling in this world.