The CrossRoads Journal

The Secret in Every Circumstance

Article by David Mathis

Don’t be fooled by the popular locker room read on Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” — score a touchdown, hit a homerun, climb a mountain, run a marathon, with the game with a finger to the sky for the Lord. Maybe some well-meaning jock signed his name with Philippians 4:13 in your high school yearbook, as a little nod to Jesus, who gifted him with such athletic prowess.

Now, the “all things” of Philippians 4:13 certainly does include our successes and the various positive things in life, but the edge on this often-quoted verse is that “all things” also means life’s hardest things: like humiliation, hunger, need, and loss.

Put the “All Things” in Context

Philippians 4:13 means more than giving a hat tip to heaven when life’s going as well as it can. It’s mainly about where to go — to whom do we go — when we’re most devastated, most in pain, most at a loss, in our lowest of lows.

It’s in this context that the apostle Paul claims, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content” Philippians 4:13 — and says it again, “In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.” There is a secret for contentment not just in our greatest triumphs, but also in our deepest devastations.

What is ‘the secret’? Philippians 4:13 calls it “Christ who strengthens me.”

Or, in terms of Philippians 3:8:
“the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”
“the priceless privilege and supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” (Amplified)
“the superior value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” (Common English Bible)