What Does Philippians 4:13 Mean?

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13(NASB)
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Verse of the Day

Although he was incarcerated in a Roman prison when writing the epistle to the Philippians, Paul demonstrated the joy of the Lord was his strength, no matter what difficult circumstances he had to face. Whether rich or poor, a freeman or in prison, Paul had learned the sufficiency that only comes through Christ. He had discovered that true contentment is only gained from abiding in Him.

Like King David, this apostle was encompassed about by many enemies and had to experience some severe hardships, and yet he learned the secret of total dependence upon the Lord and had come to appreciate that the grace of the Lord Jesus is sufficient for every eventuality. He may have been incarcerated in a prison in Rome, but Paul was able to write in his epistle: "I can do all things through Christ, Who gives me His strength."

Despite being destitute, Paul was not discouraged, because He had discovered his sufficient strength was in Christ. He understood that he could live a triumphant Christian life, no matter what troubles assailed him; not because of his own human strength or charismatic character, but through the indwelling Spirit of Christ Who provides the strength and wisdom we need in every situation in life.

Paul had some amazing credentials to fall back on. If anyone had a mind to put confidence in the flesh, Paul was the man. He was circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin. Paul was a Hebrew of Hebrews! Before salvation he could boast that as to the Law, he was a Pharisee; as to zeal, he was a persecutor of the Church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, he was blameless. BUT he was a man who learned to put no confidence in his own flesh but to put ALL his confidence in Christ and Christ alone.

Jesus had warned us that without Him, we can do nothing, and once Paul understood the deeper meaning of this, he boasted in his own weaknesses while rejoicing that through Christ he could do all things. Paul recognised that when we are positioned in Christ, abiding in Him, and remaining in fellowship with the Father, we are equipped for every eventuality of life; for when we are weak in ourselves we receive strength from the Lord and are empowered by His Spirit.

This apparent contradiction is couched in a glorious truth; a staggering truth from the Word of God. The works carried out in the flesh can achieve nothing. Human strength, a charismatic character, impressive qualifications, or noble birth, counts for nothing in God's economy. The deeds undertaken by 'the old man' (the old sin nature - our human ability), which we received from the first 'terrestrial' creation, when we were born of Adam, can produce nothing of value, just wood, hay, and stubble.

The works of the spirit, however, are carried out through our new 'born-again' nature. The old life in Adam, which was part of the first creation, was crucified on the Cross at Calvary. But the 'new life in Christ' is imparted to all God's children, making us part of a new 'spiritual' creation, through Christ Jesus our Lord. We can do nothing of our old fallen, sinful self, and yet we discover that we can do all things through the power of Christ that flows into us, and through us, and out of us to others.

Every common task to which we place our shoulder and each Christian duty to which we are called, can only be successfully discharged as we rely on the Lord Jesus Christ for guidance and strength. We are to live, and work, and be strong in the LORD and in the power of His might, not in the strength and power of our own, fleshly, human abilities.

We are to be strengthened in the 'inner' man through the power of the indwelling Spirit of God. This is not a one-time strengthening, but a moment by moment reliance upon Him, until we are increasingly able to act upon His guidance, as we learn to listen to His voice saying: "This is the way, walk in it."

It is not by my strength or by my own power or wisdom that I can do all things, but through Christ, Who gives me His strength. Like the apostle Paul, without HIM I can do nothing but I can do all things through Christ: "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord."

My Prayer

Teach me, my Father, to look to Jesus each moment of the day for my strength and not to rely on my own imperfect, human abilities and intelligence, for without You I can do nothing. But thanks be to God that as I rest in Christ Jesus, He will empower me, through the indwelling Holy Spirit, to carry out Your will for my life. Father, I confess that without You I can do nothing, but thanks be to God that I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me through the power of the Holy Spirit. To You be praise and glory forever, AMEN.

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