The plaque simply states "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Phil 4"13
I sat here, just reading the words over and over again wondering about them. Wondering about some people I've met recently and their situations. Wondering vaguely about the people I live with and their situations. Wondering about the kids and their situations. Wondering about my family and their situations. Wondering about myself and my own situations.
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. I can do all things, I can do all things, I can do all things...
Then suddenly the question crossed my mind: What can I do?
When I read the context of what Paul is saying in that chapter it doesn't fit what we generally use the verse for.
I love to pop that verse out when I want to do something that I'm not sure I can actually accomplish "I can do all things". When I was on a puppet team, part of the practice was constantly going up, and down (walking your puppet high into the air, and walking it realistically back down) and we did this to the rhythm of "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me" set to music. It was hard work because you're not used to holding your arm in such positions for so long.
But you had to do it to build up endurance if you ever wanted to be able to actually endure a show.
If you asked me to go to China, and preach the gospel in a hostile country I would announce that "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me". And I would be wrong.
But if God asked me to go to China, and preach the gospel in a hostile country, I could announce the very same thing and be 100% accurate.
I can only stand confident that I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me, if I am confident I am doing something for which Christ would strengthen me for. Do so many of our endeavors fail and crumble because we are constantly attempting things for which God is not willing to strengthen us for? Obviously if I set out to murder someone, I'd be crazy to imagine that I would succeed because "I can do all things..."
Yet I wonder if that foolish man, building his house upon the sand said those exact same words.
If the prodigals of this world wandered from home saying "I can do all things..."
We've put more emphasis on the "I" rather than the "Christ".
Paul learned to be content though we was abased because God led him into abasement. He learned to be content though he abounded because God led him into abundance.
Paul learned to be content through trials because God led him into trials.
To which he stood up and said "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
If God leads me into something, He will give me the strength to make it through. Always.
But as I've grown all too fond of saying, my idea of 'making it' doesn't necessarily match up with His idea of 'making it'.
I was listening to a lady today who was obviously very hurt over her failed marriage. Her husband, a minister, had left her for a younger woman. Or, more accurately, she had left her husband when he informed her that he no longer cared for her and was in love with this younger woman.
She had walked away from a $250,000 house according to her. And in the conversation she just kept saying how she believed that if God shuts one door, He is opening a door for something better and a bigger blessing to you. So she stated that she was choosing to be excited because if God took a $250,000 house from her - then what greatness she was going to be coming into to get something better than that!
Gods idea of great, doesn't match mine. Personal prosperity of peace, joy, patience, love, gentleness, self-control, kindness, faith, goodness (that's 9, I think I got 'em all!) is not the same as financial prosperity. And while at times part of me would probably choose one over the other - ultimately, in concrete, I choose personal prosperity.
I'll scrawl dreams of financial prosperity into the sand to be washed away by the next tide.
I'd rather have Jesus.
But I only get my personal prosperity by following this tentative path where ever it leads me.
But I do it more soberly now in my heart, knowing that "I can't do all things."
But I can do all things as the Lord strengthens me for His work.
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
So what can I do? What will I have the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual strength to accomplish?
Whatever God wants me to.
Anything to add?