“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”- Philippians 4:13
How many times have we read this verse over and over again? This has always been one of those verses I turned to when I was in school or pursuing higher studies. More than what I studied I would just remember this verse and have it on repeat in my mind. And ummm…truth be told… I did not get a great miracle or a complete change of circumstances just by saying these words. No matter how hard I stressed on them, or had my faith put on display- things just seemed the same.
I mean cmon. You’re quoting the very words from the Bible. You have the faith. You have whispered a prayer. What else is needed?
I learned this the hard way.
God does not change your circumstances because it’s not the situation He wants to change (trust me! He’s able), but it is your heart that needs some new direction and renewal. The power of prayer is tremendous and divine, but it’s not necessary that this very power will bring a shift in the state of affairs you’re in. Instead, it can reshape your heart to follow the will of God.
Talking about this verse- this is a very strengthening and empowering one. But there is a difference in how you use it.
A huge difference can be made in our prayer lives when we use God’s word effectively and accurately. That is why seeking discernment from God is of great significance in a Christian’s life. Discernment to understand the word of God, to interpret it in the right manner and use it wisely, according to God’s will.
You can’t just speak Philppians 4:13 because you want to achieve something greater in comparison to your fellow colleague or classmate or even someone who dislikes you. Do not expect a miracle there because that’s exactly where God wants to work on your heart.
Do not use these words to pile wealth over wealth upon your finances- clearly here you love money more than God. Do not use the Spirit-inspired words of the Lord has a pawn for your needs.
Instead, use them when you feel weak in your spirit and can’t seem to whisper a few words of prayer.
Use them when your circumstances are beyond your control and you have done everything humanly possible to change things.
Speak these words to the one who’s suffering from a sickness that not just strips away their health but also their spirit.
Hold onto this verse, when fear overcomes your faith, when the spirit of distress tries to close your eyes to the spiritual army of God that surrounds you.
Speak them over your life, when you’re fully aware of your limitations but must keep moving in this world. Whisper them when you’re exhausted with life and just want to throw the towel in, but your family needs you to be strong.
Paul spoke these words sure of his circumstances. A few verses prior to this he has written that He had learnt to be content in his situation- good or bad, rich or poor, well fed or hungry. What got him through these episodes of life was the hope and strength empowered by the Holy Spirit that with Christ, he can do ALL things, he can face tomorrow and all fear will be gone.
Remember, that Christ came to this earth to make this possible for children of God. This season don’t just keep the ‘Christ’ alive in Christmas but let it continue to shine, dwell and be living in our hearts.
So choose these words to find encouragement in despair, strength over inabilities and peace in chaos.