The meaning of Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” is quite different from what we usually imagine. With that statement, Paul expressed his conviction that Christ was more than enough for him. With Christ in his life, he was full of joy, prepared and strengthened to face all the challenges and difficulties of life.
This is why when this verse comes to mind and we affirm “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”, we must ask ourselves the following: Is Christ enough for me? Do I live a life full of joy because I have him in my life? Do I trust that Christ enables and strengthens me to face the problems that come my way?
It is good to be clear that the verse does not give us carte blanche to ask for anything or to do whatever we want. The verse does not say that we can do whatever we want even if it goes against God’s will. Nor is it a promise of riches or earthly power.
When we know the context of the verse we realize that it really speaks about contentment: our life must be full of joy in the midst of any circumstance because Christ is in us. He is our Lord! And it is in him that we have the strength to face the challenges of life.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
With God, Nothing Is Impossible Explanation
The Explanation of Philippians 4:13
The Apostle Paul wrote the Epistle to the Philippians from prison. Yes! The apostle who wrote that famous verse was in prison because of his faith in Jesus. What a strange place to write such a positive and optimistic verse!
The reality is that the theme of the letter to the Philippians is joy. Paul was immensely grateful to God for the example of Jesus, for his own salvation and that of his brothers in Philippi. Paul was also grateful for the way the Philippians cared for him, and the letter clearly expresses his gratitude to them. All these reasons for gratitude filled his heart with great joy!
Paul did not use his letters to complain or to make others feel guilty for not suffering as he did. His letters served to encourage the brothers in Christ. He was always grateful for the goodness of God and his family in the Lord. He also took the opportunity to teach others how to persevere and remain firm in their faith.
That feeling of a heart full of gratitude and joy is made clear in the verses that accompany Philippians 4:13.
I am so glad in the Lord that they are finally interested in me again. Of course they were interested, they just hadn’t had a chance to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be satisfied in whatever situation I find myself in. I know what it is to live in poverty, and what it is to live in abundance. I have learned to live in each and every one of the circumstances, both to be satiated and to go hungry, to have plenty and to suffer scarcity. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Paul thanks the Philippians for their generosity in sending him an offering. He also tries to reassure them about their personal situation by talking to them about contentment.
Since his conversion, Paul went through many afflictions for the love of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:16-33). He was whipped, he was shipwrecked, he was imprisoned several times, he did not have a fixed place as a home, etc. There were many difficulties that he faced for the love of the Lord.
But as he himself says in Philippians 4:12, he learned to live in the midst of all those circumstances. Paul knew that God had a good purpose for him in the midst of any situation and that strengthened his heart. That is what we must remember when we quote this verse.
Other verses about power:
Lastly, be strong with the mighty power of the Lord.
All the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily in Christ; and in him, who is the head of all power and authority, you have received that fullness.
So the angel said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘It will not be by force or by any power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.
But when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will receive power and you will be my witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
May the God of hope fill you who believe in him with all joy and peace, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.