Everything Through Christ

I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:13.

 

So, let me ask the obvious question here:  does this really mean what it says?

You know my answer is going to be yes, with a few caveats for good measure.  Most of us will apply this to in and every situation even if the probability factor is zero.  The world at large will take that word everything as proof of their argument against God’s power in His followers’ lives.  You’ve certainly heard the challenging question,  “If God is all powerful, can He make a rock He can’t pick up?”  It’s supposed to be an unanswerable conundrum which proves the fallibility of God’s nature and the limits of omnipotence (or His nonexistence).  My answer is somewhat pedantic,  “God’s not that stupid.”  Yet the question is appropriate and relevant here.

The word everything usually means within the bounds of decency and God’s character or within the context of whatever the author has been speaking to in the rest of the book.  But there’s more to this concept than what our limited scope of  everything can mean.  We almost always have a list when we think of what God can supply; mostly it’s stuff not internal cum spiritual.  The slippery nature of spiritual realities for those of us who follow Jesus leave many of us looking for more “substantial” proof over the changes in our nature.

God’s goals for us focus on the transcendent peace and a renewed mind, which only comes through the transformation His presence brings about in us.  This is not a work we can accomplish on our own.  The very fact that Paul points out our part in working out our salvation with fear and trembling shows we have something to do, for the very next sentence emphasizes God’s work in us to give us the will and way to do His good pleasure.  I have no doubt whatsoever we are biased towards measurable results.  Science, mathematics, the art of songwriting or story telling all have outcomes we can measured.  Though I don’t believe true success can be measured by sales, nor can ever use something’s popularity as a meter by which to tell us whether it is art or not.

For instance, nearly half of the famous artists and composers of the past 200 years were unknowns and died either poverty stricken or near to it.  It wasn’t until someone of influence and wealth “discovered” them that they became a sensation in the world.  This should be a warning to us about what success means in anything for it shows both the fickle nature of mankind and the way we value people while they’re alive.  In most cases we show more respect for the dead than for the living.

Therefore I don’t believe in sales or popularity as healthy measurement for my life.  That said I also know my heart wants to be liked by people—and the more the better.

The phrase that contains everything doesn’t give a qualifier at all.  This means to me we can endure anything and everything which comes our way with confidence in Christ these things will not conquer our faith.  Yet this doesn’t mean we won’t suffer persecution, trouble, sickness, loss or death, for Jesus as well as the apostles all promise we will.  Our suffering isn’t the end of the matter, however, since we know a wonderful God, who rescues us from every trial either through miracles here or in the resurrection.  Our hope moves us beyond the immediate to the eternal.

Some consider this not good enough.  For they call themselves followers of Christ while they ignore or explain away His promise that we would suffer for His name.  Most of us miss the point for suffering is supposed to produce hope through perseverance.  Without suffering we won’t develop the muscle of faith…

The context of Paul’s declaration points to what he had experienced with the Philippians.  What had he just told them about contentment?

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.  He gave them a list of what the word everything meant to him then took it a step further.  He could have said all these things to indicate just the stuff he listed, instead he used the word everything to point to more things than those he mentioned—which were pretty comprehensive already.

If we ignore the trouble we go through and the obvious flaws in our characters they bring out, then we are missing key signposts which will direct our growth.  Stress and trouble show the character for what it is; reveal the foundations on which we build our sense of security and hope.  The only way we will be able to say with Paul, I can do everything through Him who gives me strength, is when we come to the understanding that everything we go through is taken care of in His promise of redemption.  He will redeem my life, my circumstances, my needs, my losses, my futile efforts, my failures, the things I’ve destroyed, the things others have destroyed for or in me—His promise means everthing.  I am not my own, I am bought with a price…I am owned…I am His.

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One Response to “Everything Through Christ”

  1. tlc4women Says:

    Simply redeemed by One who desires to see the full potential of what was programmed into destiny before the foundation of the earth.

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