I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
In education we have learning targets and then put them into what we call ‘I can’ statements to guide the lesson. Teachers are to clearly state it at the beginning of the lesson and the goal is for the students to know what it is they are learning so they can check for themselves whether they got it or not. An example in math might be “I can multiply three digit numbers by two digit numbers.” Then they need to demonstrate that they can indeed do that skill.
So our ‘I can’ statement for today is clearly stated: “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” There are three parts to this lesson. The first is “I can do all things,” the second “through Him,” and finally “who gives me strength.”
I can do all things. Not some things, all things. It’s like 2 Corinthians 9:8, “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every work.” If you read Philippians 4:10-20, you’ll see that Paul was saying that he could do all things in the context of him being content in any circumstance. He knew what it was like to be well fed and what it was like to be hungry. He had learned the secret of surviving both good and bad times. What was his secret?
Through Christ. Paul didn’t say “I can do all things because ‘I’m smart,’ or ‘I’m strong, ‘or ‘because we all have an indomitable human spirit.’ No, Paul learned the secret of relying on Jesus for his contentment, his strength, energy and his reason for living. In Colossians 1:29 Paul wrote that he struggled with all of Jesus’ energy which worked so strongly in him. In Philippians 3:10 Paul declared that his sole purpose was to know Christ and in sharing in HIs sufferings Paul would know the power of His resurrection. John 15:5 says, “Apart from Me you can nothing.” Ask God to show you how to access His energy and His power, not to rely on your own, which eventually (or quickly) fails.
Apart from Jesus we can do nothing. With Jesus we can do anything.
Who gives me strength. I was quoting these verses from Psalm 18 to myself this morning as I drove to work: “I love you, O Lord, my strength,” vs. 1; “For by You I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall,” vs. 29; “God equips me with strength and makes my way blameless. He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze,” vs. 34. People who resist the truth are wearing me down. I am taking extra vitamins because I am worn out. I remind myself that it is God who is my strength and I cannot give up. I cry out to Him to renew my strength daily.
I must claim these truths each day, as you must also. Life isn’t a cakewalk. But we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.