I Can Do All Things

 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me….” (Phil. 4: 13) 

This popular iconic verse needs to be understood to relate to contentment, not conquest. It is not intended to relate to all activities and actions, but to the result of the outcome whether prosperous or the pits. It should be understood to give meaning to the things listed in preceding verses and be content with the result because of the strength Jesus provides. To achieve this contentment, he needed the strength of Jesus Christ.

Unfortunately, many people take this verse out of context and use it to reinforce a “triumphalist” or “super-Christian” mentality, instead of seeing that the strength of Jesus in a life is evident in our ability to be content when we did suffer. 

With that confidence builder in mind don’t be reluctant to undertake those things perceived to be within God’s will. Flush from your mind old defeatist attitudes. Drive out the would-be tyrant, failure. Recapture your mind and stock it with positive principles. 

There is no such thing as an idle thought. All thoughts work for either or bad. Positive thoughts can make you stronger. Negative thoughts can exhaust you.

Two extremes exist at this point. One is positive thought can achieve anything. Not! The other is Jesus can do it all for me. Not! Together with Jesus as the master of the two wonders can be achieved. Be positive and be dependent. An example of optimum optimism is French statesman of yesteryear George Clemenceau who in his youth fought a number of duels. His second went with him to the railway station to purchase tickets to a duel and was shocked to see him buy a one way ticket.

One way ticket? Said the shocked second. “Pessimistic?” 

“Not at all,” said Clemenceau cheerfully. “I always use my opponent’s return ticket.”

No person can live long without realizing that life deals some losses, defeats, and disappointments to all. The optimist is well aware of this and is prepared to accept a share of both. It is at this point Jesus strengthens us most by enabling us to be content.

An aside to contentment is physical health. If you look on the bright side, you just might live longer — much longer, according to some upbeat research. A new study finds women who characterize themselves as having the highest level of optimism live 15% longer than the least optimistic women, and have a 50% greater chance of reaching the age of 85. The most optimistic men live 11% longer.

Not only do they live longer, they live better and are living witnesses of the contentment derived from faith in the Lord. To be content in our chaotic culture is not humanly possible. Therefore, where it exists it is a testimony to the grace of God. 

“Therefore, I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his statue? 

Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own thing. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6: 25-27 & 34)