I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
I like what the NIV brings to light in the translation of our focus text. “I can do all this…” More familiar to me is the NKJV: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
I can do all this aids comprehension of I can do all things. It points to the previous verses.…
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Philippians 4:11-12
Philippians 4:13 does not mean you can do anything and everything you want. If that was the case I would have been a great singer or a great trombonist.
The heart of Paul’s meaning is found in verse 11 when he says, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Then he spells out some of the circumstances in the following verse.
Paul had learned that the presence of Christ in his life had taught him to be content “in any and every situation.” (v12) To borrow a line from the traditional marriage vows: “… for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health…”
Contentment= a state of happiness and satisfaction.
Truthfully, it’s hard to imagine anyone in today’s have-it-all society who could say they are truly content in all things and all situations.
But wait. If we were always content in our circumstances, there would be no reason to try to achieve something better.
To be sure, Paul was forward thinking, always striving for something better. No one, other than Christ, has had a greater impact on the advancement of the gospel.
Contentment shouldn’t be viewed as an attitude that will stifle us, but a character quality that strengthens us. “… Christ who strengthens me.”
As you live, Christ will strengthen you for all of life’s challenges. His strength is manifest in contentment.
Have you ever known someone in a dire situation who remained cheerful, happy, and thankful despite their pain? Not many, right? But those we encounter are a blessing and an encouragement. It makes us say, “I wish I could be like that.” Even when your intent is to minister to folks like that, they actually are the ones who offer the greater ministry.
What is meant by the following expressions?
- “I got up on the wrong side of the bed.”
- “Don’t bother me now, I’m having a bad day.”
- “Don’t talk to me until after I’ve had my coffee.”
Do those expressions depict someone who is content, happy, satisfied?
All of us have a bad day once in a while that leads to grumpiness. But if we are content and relying upon the provision, guidance, and strength of Christ, an ill disposition should not be our prevailing demeanor.
We all get discouraged. I’ve certainly had my share of disappointments, especially as a pastor. But I learned that time with God helped me regain my perspective and reminded me how incredibly I had been blessed.
Remember, contentment is a learned behavior gained by living through Christ. You didn’t suddenly get zapped with this wonderful character quality when you gave your life to Jesus. It won’t happen overnight, but if your remain surrendered and faithful to Him, you will learn His contentment.
You can do, endure, persist, and keep going no matter what — through Christ who strengthens you, and teaches you how to be content in all things.
For more on this topic, check out this article: God’s Remedy for Fatigue and Stress
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 2 (April – June) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.