I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
There’s a common practice among Christians to use this verse as some kind of super-power-verse to say with Jesus’ help we can achieve all the dreams and desires we have for ourselves, soar to new heights of achievement and conquer the world. While technically we can do great exploits for God. This is not what this verse is about at all. The word “this” (as translated in the NIV) is helpful in revealing the meaning of the verse but the common translation from the KJV is “things.” For both words we must find out what exactly Paul is talking about. When read in context we can see that the famous verse 13 is actually a lesson in contentment:
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
So we see that Paul is talking about being content in every situation - whether he has a lot or he is in need. This was written while Paul was in prison. He certainly was not soaring to new heights but rather at a very low point in life. You could compare this feeling to being knocked down by life’s disappointments or facing times when physical resources are lacking. Here, Paul tells us “the secret” to being content even in these times is that in Christ he finds strength. It is not about personal success or triumph or even overcoming odds to win an individual victory of some kind. It is also not about God helping us achieve “our” desires and goals. This verse is about perseverance in Gods will and way. It is about Paul submitting to God’s goals and plan, and God giving him the strength to do so. With this in mind, when we read this verse we can say, “Thank you Lord that I can endure anything the world throws at me because you are the one who strengthens me.” #God #christ #life #love #bible #paul #scripture #verse #content #happy