Spare Change - September
“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!” is a common motto of people competing in athletic competitions. This slogan is plastered on encouraging memes on social media and on basketball sneakers; however, it is not just a slogan it is an important verse that is meant to be a great encouragement to believers that are facing all kinds of obstacles in their lives.
This verse is Philippians 4:13 and Paul wrote it to the church in Philippi. Here is Philippians 4:10-13 to help us better understand the context of the verse.
“10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
Paul was writing to encourage the believers from his own experiences. They were greatly concerned about Paul’s wellbeing and with good cause. We read a summary of Paul's sufferings in 2 Corinthians 11. He tells the church he has been beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, gone without food, etc. Paul understands he has suffered greatly for the cause of Christ, but he encourages the church not to worry because he has learned to be content in every situation. Whether he has much, or little, he trusts the Lord. It is in that vein that he says he can do all things through Christ. Basically, he is relying on the strength of Christ to help him accomplish all that God has for him to do. The challenges he faces are nothing more than obstacles that are to be conquered. Paul is confident that God has a job for him to do and he is not going to stop no matter what comes his way because he relies on Christ through everything.
WHAT AN ATTITUDE! Can you even imagine thinking about life in that way? The sad reality is verse 13 is so much more than just a handy slogan; it is a banner that goes before us to remind us that we do everything for God’s glory. First, we need to realize that God has a job for us! God wants us to work, live, shop, eat, serve, parent, fill in the blank all for the glory of God. He sets us on a course to accomplish His will in our lives. It is carried out in how we raise our families, how we interact with co-workers, how we redeem our time and yes, even our possessions for the Lord. That means you look for opportunities to share the gospel and actively disciple, serve, and love others in every facet of life.
Once we come to terms with our God-given mission, then we can understand that there will be challenges to that goal. You will face internal and external influences that will try to get you to stop. We fight against our flesh, the world, and the devil. These three combine to challenge and defeat us and, often, they succeed. However, if we take to heart what Paul says in Philippians 4 then we will not give up so easily. We must understand that nothing can defeat us, not even death. Paul makes that clear early in Philippians 1:21, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” If we have nothing to lose then we cannot be beat!
Do you get it?! We will face obstacles, we will be challenged but we cannot let that stop us. Whether it is a ball game, a hard day at work, a failure as a parent or whatever, you can overcome it. Just like Paul, you need to rely on the strength that is found only in Jesus Christ. If you do that you will be unstoppable and God will get the glory for all it. See this verse is bigger than just a sporting event, it is for every aspect of your life. So, keep following the Lord, keep working for Him, and do not give up! He will give you the strength you need, just rely on Him every day!