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What does “I can do all things through Christ” really mean?

Quick Answer: What does “I can do all things through Christ” really mean? Many interpret Paul’s words in Philippians 4:13 to mean Christians have the power to be successful at anything in life. However, the passage is actually talking about contentment in any circumstance, whether difficult or easy. Paul speaks of having little (poverty) versus having much, and going hungry versus being filled. His point is that Jesus Christ is our life in every circumstance we face. This is a far cry from the idea that Christians can be successful at anything because they have Christ. Believing this lie sets a person up for unrealistic expectations and disappointment with God.

Diving Deeper: Some misinterpret Paul’s words in Philippians 4:13 as positive self-talk meaning that Christians can do anything (win a presidential election, grow up to be an astronaut, etc.) if they simply declare it. However, Paul is actually stating that Christians can endure any life situation, because Christ lives in them and is empowering them to endure.

In the passage, Paul states that he has learned to live with much, and with little (Philippians 4:12). He says he has learned to be content in every circumstance (Philippians 4:11). How? Through Christ’s power within him.

So, this is not a passage about chasing the “American Dream” through Jesus. The passage is actually about the stability in Christ and the counsel of God’s Spirit that we enjoy when any ambition fails or succeeds. Regardless of our status, wealth, or accomplishments (or lack thereof), we can be content because Jesus Christ is our life in everything.

Let’s Make It a Conversation!
1. Why do you think people misunderstand the meaning of Philippians 4:13?
2. What does the verse actually mean? Why does this matter?
3. React to this statement: I can endure all things through Christ who strengthens me.


Have more questions about challenging verses? Check out:
101 Bible Questions - Book101 Bible Questions: And the Surprising Answers You May Not Hear in Church is now available on Amazon!

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