SCRIPTURE TEXT: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” – Philippians 4:13
There’s still so much to learn from the above one-lined but power-packed text. For the same Apostle Paul who made the insightful statement “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” also said “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify” (1 Corinthians 10:23).
It follows therefore that even if we can do all things, we shouldn’t do all things because according to the learned Apostle from his ‘been-there, done-that’ experience, not all things are helpful, and not all things edify. Hence, my focus on “all things” should be on doing only all things that are helpful and edifying.
Combing through the Bible, which in itself is an exhaustive source of biographies, legal counsel, nuggets from sociology, philosophy, medicine, finance and other esoteric branches of knowledge, one fact is consistent. The only thing that is helpful, and edifies, right from the foundation of the world, and will last even beyond the termination of this world, is doing God’s will. Doing God’s will, is fearing Him and keeping His commandments. All other things derive from it. That’s why the wisest man Solomon, after trying everything under the sun, concluded for posterity: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all – Ecclesiastes 12:13.
I like the fact that there is only one thing that is helpful and edifies. And that if I focus on it, I’ll be able to do all other things that I’d love to do without stress, though with the discipline of hard work. Isn’t that wonderful? I’ve tried this several times and found it to be true. But still it doesn’t come naturally to me, as much as I desire to really forget about my talents and skills and knowledge and rely on Christ’s strength alone. So even with this simple solution freely offered, I find myself needing His strength to be able to do what I know really counts and is helpful for me and cannot do by myself. Isn’t our situation just pathetic?
But here’s sweet hope! God told Apostle Paul: “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” – 2 Corinthians 12:9. I’d like to believe that the same assurance applies equally to my weak situation. It’s comforting to know that my inability to do anything that counts can translate to being able to do all things, if I allow Christ to strengthen me. The best part is that He’s ready to do so.
TO PONDER: Charles Spurgeon made a commitment: ‘I have now concentrated all my prayers into one, and that one prayer is this, that I may die to self, and live wholly to Him.’ What have you decided to do? Continue to trust in yourself to do all things or to die to that self and live wholly to Christ? Remember, without Him, you can do nothing.