Shhh… I’ve Got A Secret—Day 5
Philippians 4: 11-13
Several verses in the Bible are well known because of the number of times we have heard them quoted. Although some of us may not know where to find a particular scripture, we know it by memorization because of its usage. This last verse of our selected devotional passage is one of those verses. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Although one of the most quoted verses in the Bible, it is one that is often used out of context.
This week’s devotional has given us the opportunity to see Paul’s three phase process at work. ‘I have learned,’ ‘I know,’ and ‘I can do, or I have the power to do.’
Paul has learned about being content. He knows, as in he is convinced, he can be content. Then he concludes with the secret of his success, I can do what is expected because of Christ’s strength that dwells in me. Paul has the power to walk out contentment in his life because of Christ. That is the secret Paul wanted the readers of this passage to understand, both the Philippian believers and those influenced by Stoicism. In and of ourselves, we are not capable of being content because circumstances have a way of being too much to bear in our own strength. With Christ what we are unable to do to maintain our contentment, whether with little or much, Christ makes possible.
When we are unable to be content, it is not because we don’t have what it takes to display that virtue. We are not content because we choose not to rely on what we already have.
This passage is often taken out of context and used to psychologically “hype us up” when we want to encourage ourselves to take on some significant challenge. Mind you though nothing is too hard for God, he still refused to remove the thorn from Paul’s side. Some things are not in his plan to do for us. Additionally, we overlook it for its intended purpose—being content wherever we find ourselves, which is his plan for his children at all times. You can be content no matter what, because of his strength that dwells within you.
Paul’s stellar attitude is not because he is so “together”, but because he trusts the inner strength/power given to him because of his relationship with Christ.
The Greek word for strengthens is, ĕndunamŏō, en-doo-nam-ŏ´-o; the overall thought is, to cause one to be able to function or do something. Whatever we experience regarding having lack or living with much, our relationship with Christ causes us to be able to function properly. Brothers and Sisters, that is our secret.
Question: When we think about it, do we allow our relationship with Christ to be used as efficiently as it could be?
If we are going to quote this scripture let’s use it as it was intended, for Strength To Be Content.
Remember: This strength is not some humanistic, feel-good-regardless philosophy; because of Christ, we have the real stuff.
Lord, thank you for being our strength and making it possible for us to be content with having little or plenty, Amen.