Sunday, 12 September 2021
Title: I can do ALL THINGS through Christ?
By Elder Yu Chin Shie
“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” ESV
Philippians 4:13 is one of the most quoted and loved bible verses by Christians according to one survey done recently. It is not difficult to see why. However, it is also one of the most misunderstood, misquoted and misused bible verses.
All of us want to be able to achieve what we set out to do. It could be getting top in our class, finishing the race first, get into the best university, secure the best job and marry the person of our dreams, etc. Hence, Philippians 4:13 has been used by many as motivation to achieve what they could not do on their own. This verse has been printed on millions of key chains and t-shirts, cellphone cases and coffee mugs. Many Christians recite the passage when they need to draw power from God to defeat a formidable enemy or achieve a challenging goal.
One well known prosperity gospel preacher has this to say –
“Most people tend to magnify their limitations. They focus on their shortcomings. But scripture makes it plain: all things are possible to those who believe. That’s right. It is possible to see your dreams fulfilled. It is possible to overcome that obstacle. It is possible to climb to new heights. It is possible to embrace your destiny. You may not know how it will all take place. You may not have a plan, but all you have to know is that if God said you can … you can!”
To understand the actual meaning of Philippians 4:13, we have to read the verse in context as well as the background of Paul when he wrote the epistle of Philippians.
At the time Paul wrote Philippians, he was in prison in Rome awaiting trial for his preaching of the gospel of Christ. It is likely he would end up being executed for his faith. Although Paul had faced severe hardships, poverty, beatings, illness and even his current imprisonment, in every circumstance he had learned to be content.
The preceding two verses of Philippians 4:13 bear this truth.
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I 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.”
Many people have misused the verse and take it to mean you can do all things you desire through Christ. When you take this verse out of context, you will think it means doing anything you want. This is not true because God only fulfils the desires of our hearts that align with His word. You can’t pursue ungodly desire (2 Tim 2:22) and expect God to strengthen you to fulfil them.
Instead of being defeated by difficult circumstances, Paul was telling his readers that he could endure any and every circumstance because he has the strength that only comes from Christ.
Certainly, as believers of Christ, we can have access to His strength. In John 15: 5 & 7 we read in verse 5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” Verse 7 reads “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
As we spend time with Christ daily by reading His word and in prayer, we grow in our relationship with Christ. We will know His will and be guided to pray with confidence for requests that glorify His name – like courage to witness to an unbeliever, wisdom and strength to serve in a difficult ministry and faithfulness and joy in facing the Covid pandemic.
In conclusion, we are not to use Philippians 4:13 as a magical charm to claim God’s strength to achieve whatever our hearts desire. However, we can ask for God’s strength to be the salt of the earth and light of the world. (Matthew 5:13-14)
That we can be assured He will grant our request!
Thank you that you have promised to be with us and will never forsake us. Help us to abide in you daily to know Your will and be strengthened always to live our lives for the glory of Your name.
In Jesus name,
腓立比书 4:13 我靠着那加给我力量的，凡事都能做。
根据最近进行的一项调查，腓立比书 4:13 是基督徒最常引用和喜爱的圣经节之一。不难看出原因。然而，它也是最容易被误解、误引和误用的经文之一。
我们所有人都希望能够实现我们的目标。它可能是在班里名列前茅，比赛第一，进入最好的大学，获得最好的工作，并与我们梦想中的人结婚等等。因此，腓立比书 4:13 已被许多人用作实现目标的动力来完成自己不能做的。这节经文已印在数百万计的钥匙链和 T 恤、手机壳和咖啡杯上。许多基督徒会背诵这段经文在需要从上帝那里得力量以击败强大的敌人或实现具有挑战性的目标时。
要理解腓立比书 4:13 的实际含义，我们必须结合上文下文以及保罗写腓立比书时的背景来阅读这节经文。
腓立比书 4 章 13 节的前两节经文证实了这个真理。
当然，作为基督的信徒，我们有得到祂力量的通道。在约翰福音 15 章 5 和 7 节，我们在第 5 节读到：“5 我是葡萄树，你们是枝子。常在我里面的，我也常在他里面，这人就多结果子；因为离了我，你们就不能做什么… 7 你们若常在我里面，我的话也常在你们里面，凡你们所愿意的，祈求，就给你们成就。”
总而言之，我们不要将腓立比书 4:13 当作一种神奇的护身物来宣称上帝的力量来实现我们心中的任何愿望。然而，我们可以祈求上帝的力量成为世上的盐和世界的光。 （马太福音 5:13-14）