“Context 4:13”

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” ‭Philippians‬ ‭4‬:‭13‬ ESV

We hear this verse quoted quite often, but much of the time it is claimed it is done so outside of its original context. Football player, Tim Tebow, is well known for displaying the words “Phil 4:13” on his cheeks during football games and many people have admired his public stand for his reliance on Christ. But when Paul originally penned these words to the Christians in Phillipi, it was more than just depending on Jesus. It was on the heels of speaking about his life journey and what he had learned through both hardship and blessing when Paul used these words. Verses 11 and 12, immediately preceeding this verse, set the intended context for this often misquoted life phrase.

“…for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

I don’t believe that we can honestly claim the confidence that Paul had in explaining that he can do all things through the strength of Christ until we’ve experienced the extreme benefits of being both blessed and being in desperate need of those same blessings while all-the-while clinging to His promises and never wavering in our love, devotion, and complete dependence on Christ.

Father, thank you for the full times and for those that seem empty. Thank you for the perspective of both needing nothing and needing much while following You. I love You and trust in You for absolutely every facet of my life…and in that I can rest strong. Amen.