Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Strength Enough to Have Enough

Philippians 4:13 -- "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" -- is one of the more popular verses in Christian circles. It's an easy-to-understand, bumper-sticker-ready, spiritual-pep-talk kind of verse. "Set your sights high, because if Christ is with you, no task is too difficult!" 

At least that's what I thought, until I was reading the full passage today and when I connected that verse with the verses immediately before it, I had a light bulb that was just like Inigo Montoya's words to Vizzini: "I do not think it means what you think it means."

So here's the full passage, and consider that Paul is writing this from prison: "I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Christ who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:10-13)

Paul isn't saying he can conquer the Roman Empire single-handedly or perform a miraculous healing (though I don't put anything beyond the power of God). Paul is specifically saying that Christ gives him the power to be content. At peace. Joyful. To find comfort in having enough

I know being content is something I struggle with often (usually in the realm of wanting some home improvements or a more reliable car), so this insight really hit home for me. This verse is still a good reminder to find strength in God for difficult tasks, but being content at all times? That would be a welcome miracle indeed.

"It's just enough to be strong in the broken places." -Jars of Clay, "Faith Enough"

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