“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” -Philippians 4:13
This is Paul Anderson’s life verse, and it supports his well-known profession of faith, “If I, the strongest man in the world, cannot get through one day without Jesus Christ, how can you?” Just what are these “all things” you can do through Christ to which the Apostle Paul refers? The context of Philippians 4, just as the context of all of Scripture, makes it clear that this is no panacea promise to do whatever your feelings, appetites, and personal ideas conjure up. There are many things you may wish to do which you have no business doing, things which contribute to your downfall and further your brokenness.
This verse clearly refers to doing those things which will increase your godliness and assist you in aiding your neighbors’ physical and spiritual well-being. Never, never say to yourself, “Do I really need His strength? What’s wrong with my own?” For there is nothing more important for your health today and into eternity that Jesus cannot provide you in His strength. Your own ability and power will never come close to being sufficient.
Currently, our young men at PAYH are engaged in biking hundreds of miles in enervating heat, extreme temperatures, and high humidity. They are being pushed to their limits and beyond. Is this truly something they can ask Christ to help them continue to endure and overcome for the Lord’s glory? Certainly!
I am sure, if their minds and hearts acknowledge Christ’s presence and they accept His desire that they succeed in doing what is pleasing to Him, they can call on Him to help them get over this torturous hump. He can and will come to their aid if this actually by faith will increase their spiritual health, just as He will aid you.
Your strength is insufficient to do those things which you most need. You cannot obey the commandments of the Lord in your own strength, for example, which you well know. You cannot be what you ought to be for yourself or for others. You cannot rise above the fallen nature of this world. Sin drags you down; it ensures that you always come up short. You need the Lord Jesus Christ to get through even one day. Oh, you can muddle through on your own, but in yourself you will never be victorious in life. You will remain unsatisfied, and you will never see salvation.
Paul Anderson’s personal example was that he had to rely on Jesus’ strength to win the Olympic gold medal in Melbourne, Australia in 1956. His first two tries at the winning weight failed. He then asked the Lord for the strength to get this winning weight overhead.
In that critical moment, he promised to put the Lord first in his life, and while serving Him with his wife Glenda, they soon founded the Paul Anderson Youth Home for troubled young men. Paul and Glenda glorified Jesus Christ by introducing these teenage boys to Him. By their own example and instruction, they intentionally led them to rely on the strength of Christ in all things.
Philippians 4:13 is true for you in every way. You can rely on Him to be your own source of strength in everything. Christ is the strength you absolutely must have to succeed in all that truly matters. After all, nothing else does!
“No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
‘Til He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I stand”
(Fourth verse of Stuart Townsend and Keith Getty’s hymn, “In Christ Alone,” 2001)
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