“I can do all things through
Christ who strengthens me.”
Philippians 4:13 kjv
If you are a parent, you will remember teaching your children to tie their shoes. You worked and worked with them, but over and over you heard them say, “I can’t do it!” In the early stages of the process perhaps they did not possess the ability to finish the project, but as time progressed it was not so much their lack of knowledge as their lack of desire. Also, they had gently learned that if they didn’t tie their shoes you would do it for them. Eventually they learned the task and have since been tying their own shoes.
Saying “I can’t” can be a dangerous position to take. It often means that we are unwilling to surrender to an authority, trust a process, or acknowledge a need.
The context of Paul’s comment this week relates to his gratitude for a gift that the Church in Philippi had given to him for his ministry. He is quick to point out that he is not complaining about the lack of gifts for he says …
10 How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me. 11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ,[a] who gives me strength. 14 Even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty. (vv10-14)
Paul had learned the secret of contentment and because of this he was empowered with the assurance that “can’t” was not a part of his vocabulary. He knew that no matter how hard the struggles in life may be he had a sovereign foundation that assured him that “no matter what” God was his strength.
It is important to realize that when Paul said these words he was not talking about spiritual things but rather physical things. He knew what God had done in him spiritually would translate to the physical. In other words, because of his spiritual union with Christ, he knew that whatever physical assignment was given to him (by Christ) he had the “I can do it” attitude because he would be strengthened to do it.
I hope we will stop thinking about the things we say “I can’t” to and start saying because of Christ … I CAN … and … I WILL!