I Can Do All Things
One of the favorite verses that we all know is found in the book of Philippians. The verse simply says, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13). It is a favorite of all who know the Bible. It is used to give us strength to face difficult times in our lives.
I want to remind you that this verse is not a promise given to believers. Many claim this as a promise in their lives. But notice that Paul does not say “We can do all things”. He simply says, “I can do all things.” That leads to ask a simple question that we should ask and that is “how did Paul get to the point that he was able to say, “I can do all things?”
We are given the steps by Paul that have to be a part of our lives for us to be able to say, “I can do all things!” Those steps start in Philippians 4:4.
First step is that we have to rejoice. Paul’s commands us twice in verse 4 to rejoice. Rejoicing is God’s will for our lives and rejoicing has a major impact on our lives. Nehemiah says, “the joy of the Lord is your strength.” When our lives are characterized by “joy” we will always find that we are stronger. And we are to rejoice based on our relationship with Jesus and on his promise to make something good come out of all that we encounter in life.
When joy is part of our lives, then we have the strength to treat people well. We are in a position to make people safe around us. Paul said to “let your gentle spirit be known to all men.” We treat all people the same! In fact, this is also known as humility. We consider others more important than ourselves. This is the very attitude of Jesus when He went to the cross.
The third step is when we face difficult times and we are uncertain what we are to do next. We usually react with worry and frustration. The third step is to not be anxious but to pray with thanksgiving. During tough times we need to seek God and ask for help. But the key is to ask with thanksgiving. We know that it is God’s will for us to be thankful in all things and so during stressful and difficult times we seek God with a thankful heart.
When we pray with thanksgiving we receive one of the great gifts of God, and that gift is peace. The power of the peace of God is that it guards our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.
This leads to the fourth step and maybe the most important step. Since we are at peace in our hearts and our minds, we have the ability to think clearly and correct in life. Paul says, “let your minds dwell on that which is true, honorable, right, pure, and gracious.” When Paul uses the word “dwell,” he is using the Greek word for logic. When we came to Christ, we received the mind of Christ and that means that God has gifted us to think clearly and correctly when we are dealing with difficult issues in life.
The only way that I can get there is when I rejoice in the Lord, treat people right, and pray with thanksgiving. Then the peace which guards my heart and my mind will allow me to make good and right decisions in life. My emotions will not dictate my decision, but God’s word will be the foundation upon which I act.
Then Paul adds the fifth step which is to practice this over and over in life. You cannot get to the point of saying, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” until these steps are ingrained in your life. And the only way is to do it every day until it becomes a part of who you are in Jesus Christ.
Paul makes an interesting observation about himself in verses 11 and 12. He says that through all of this is, he has learned to be content in life no matter what he is facing. It is when you reach the point of content that you are now in position to be able to say, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” It is literally getting to the point that you honestly and truthfully say, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”
When we have learned to be content in life, then we can join Paul in saying, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”