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Christ who Strengthens me

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I’ve changed my mind twice now on this scripture.

This often memorized and often quoted verse has been used to encourage Christians going through all sorts of hardships. Eventually, some took notice that this verse and the idea of supernatural empowerment as being abused by the health and wealth preachers. They aren’t wrong. It has been abused.

Then there came the correction that this verse is taken out of context and that it pertains to the particular circumstances Paul described in Philippians. He had been starving,

and He had been in abundance, but he learned to be content by drawing from this principle: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” True, the context in which the verse is given is provision and finding contentment in hard circumstances, but does that mean this principle is limited to only that circumstance? There is a now popular teaching that yes this verse only applies to one particular issue. I followed that track for a while.

While this verse has surely been abused, and while I totally agree that we must read in context, I now understand that Paul here is drawing from a greater spiritual principle to explain how he overcame his specific circumstances. And that said, we as well can draw from the supernatural empowerment from Christ, the Holy Spirit, to overcome all manner of circumstances, not just poverty. Christ will strengthen you through discouragement, powerlessness, overwhelming circumstances, impossible situations, hardships, sickness, and more. The key here is not the context of Paul’s case, but the context of relying on the power of God to do His will. We are incorrect when we desire God’s empowerment for selfish or sinful gain.

But for all godly goals and calls, we can, as God’s children, indwelled by God’s own Spirit, reach out into this spiritual principle and do all things by the strength of Christ.

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