I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.Philippians 4:13
We’ve heard this verse many times — one of the well-known verses to make us positive and courageous. However, while being misrepresented, it is never for our worldly success. It is never for inflaming and elevating our ego. It is never for a worldly can-do attitude. On the contrary, it is for the state of acceptance and surrender diminishing our ego.
If our faith makes us worldly prosperous, all the Apostles and followers could be so. The truth is, however, most of them suffered. They were in this world, not of this world. When Paul wrote his letter to the people in Philippi, his intention was never such conventional as a motivational speaker.
Did Paul want them to suffer? Or, did he wanted them to be happy? None of them. It doesn’t matter whether we are happy or suffer.
Before that verse, he wrote as follows:
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.Philippians 4:11-12
As Paul learned through his experience, the message is that whatever the situation may be; we could be content. It is for “knowing contentment.” It is neither happiness nor suffering, Paul calls it joy.
Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.Philippians 4:4
And Paul continued:
Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.Philippians 4:5
The state of such joy is in our moderation, the middle way, and inside-out. Knowing the Lord is at hand, we can find pure joy. It is neither what we achieve nor what we lose outside. Rejoicing in the Lord, everything becomes acceptable from His perspective because our conversation is already in heaven.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.Philippians 4:7-9
For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:Philippians 3:20
Image by Pascal Wiemers