Read: Philippians 4:13-14
“13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.” (NIV Philippians 4:13-14)
Study: Paul’s words are handled almost superstitiously—a spiritual rabbit’s foot—inscribed on skin or apparel with hopes of Divine favor. With the best of intentions, this phrase is rehearsed as an assurance of God’s enablement for personal pursuits. It is fuel for a motivational mindset bent on overcoming an obstacle, whether the hurdle be a competitor or a record yet to be broken. It’s positive self-talk that is common—even essential—when flirting at the edges of known ability. But is that what the Apostle Paul intended? As inspiring as these words might sound by themselves, they get distorted when applied apart from their actual context. Paul’s aim here is contentment, not achievement. Rather than envisioning all that he can accomplish, he is focused on his heart response to his circumstances, whether favorable or not. Paul grew to believe with great conviction that Christ was all he needed in life. The sufficiency of Christ that Paul experienced enabled him to have a strong heart of contentment (joy, peace, and gratitude) in the best and worst of times. Lean into Paul’s words to fine happiness in times of both joy and hardship.
Prayer: Lord, I know I can do all things through you. Lead me in finding hope and joy in you through good and bad times. Amen.