When I was a newly “born-again” Christian in 1974, one of the first Bible verses I learned and memorized was Philippians 4:13, which says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I believed what it said back then, and I still believe what it says today. It has been a continuous source of spiritual strength when I faced what looked like insurmountable challenges or when faced with the need to follow God’s leading and do things I thought were beyond my ability and experience to do, like smuggling Bibles into China and preaching evangelistic crusades in Africa to crowds of thousands. Without the truth of Philippians 4:13 operating in my life, I would not have attempted to smuggle Bibles into China or preach crusades in Africa.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phillipians 4:13
In March of 2018, I shared a blog on this same verse. In that blog, I focused on the power of the Holy Spirit as the source of our ability to do all things. In this blog, I would like to discuss another important reality of St. Paul’s inspired claim that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Let us take a closer look at the words of this verse.
The phrase “I can do” is a translation of the Greek word ichuos (is-khoo’-os). In Classical and New Testament Greek, this word denotes the strength and power of the Gods. But when ichuos is used to speak of individuals, it speaks of the power that caused them to be superior to others, to be champions and victors. It speaks of giving the upper hand in every situation so that individuals operating in ichuos prevailed in every circumstance.
The phrase “all things” is from the Greek word panta, which is a compound word of pan and ta. The Greek word pan means “everything” and excludes “nothing.” The word ta refers to the “smallest” of things. So, when we look at the phrase “all things,” it is saying we have the upper hand over everything with nothing excluded, including the smallest details. With the meaning of the Greek words ichuos and panta in mind, we could say, “I have ichuos power operating in me, and it causes me to be a champion and victor. This ichuos gives me the upper hand in every situation I face and causes me to prevail and overcome in every circumstance…..”
Now we come to the next two words in the verse, “through Christ.” These two words tell us the source of our ability to do “all” things. It is through Christ we can do all things. And this brings us to another important reality of this verse. In John 1:1-4,14 we read, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men….. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” From this chapter and these verses, we understand that Jesus is the Word, in Greek the Logos, that was with God in the beginning and He is God. And in verse 14, we are told that the “Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” We refer to God the Word becoming flesh as the Incarnation. When the Word became flesh, He was given birth through Mary and was given the Name Jesus. The Eternal Son of God, the Word that was in the beginning with God, became man. Jesus is fully God and fully man. Therefore, Jesus is both the second person of the Trinity, the Son of the Father, and the Word of God.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.
All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men….. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,
and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:1-4,14
Knowing and recognizing Jesus as the Word of God, helps us to understand the reality of why the words “through Christ” give us the ability to do “all” things. It is “through Christ” the Word of God operating in us that we gain our ability to be victorious and to prevail and overcome in every situation. Listen to the words of 1 Corinthians 15:57 which says, “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory, as conquerors, through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
“Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory, as conquerors, through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57
So, it is through the Word of God that we are enabled to do “all” things. We are enabled to do things we thought we could never do. We are enabled to prevail and overcome in all circumstances. How do we get the Word to work through us? We do this by reading the Word (Scripture) and believing the Word. Reading the Word “feeds” our spirit and strengthens our faith. Romans 10:17 confirms this where it says, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” We cannot overcome or prevail against circumstances if we have a weak spirit. Our spirit needs to be fed the Word of God to be strong and healthy in the same way we feed our physical bodies to strengthen them and keep them healthy. The more we feed our spirits with the Word of God, the greater the power we will have to overcome bad habits or addictions. Jesus said in John 8:32 “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” The truth of God’s Word has the life-giving power to set an alcoholic free from alcoholism, to set a drug addict free from drug addiction, and to liberate anyone who is in bondage. The more we feed our spirits with the Word of God, the greater strength we will have to prevail against and overcome negative situations and circumstances that try to control our lives and prevent us from doing God’s will.
“You shall now the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17
When we face difficult situations or seemingly impossible circumstances, we can read and believe what God says about those situations or circumstances. For example, if we need healing for our body, read and believe 1 Peter 2:24 which says, speaking of Jesus sacrifice on the Cross, “By Whose stripes you were healed.” Our healing needs as well as our forgiveness of sins were purchased for us on Calvary. If we “were” healed by Jesus’ stripes 2,000 years ago, that means we “are” healed today when we believe. If we face something that is trying to paralyze us with fear, we read and believe what the Word of God says in 2 Timothy 1:7 where it says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” If we choose to believe what the Word of God says instead of what our situations or circumstances are trying to tell us, the reality of Philippians 4:13 will become our reality. This is not a matter of mind over matter. This is a matter of the Word over matter and us cooperating with it. Does this sound too simple? It may sound simple to the intellect, but it is all our heart needs to experience the reality of the truth of His Word in our life.
“By Whose stripes you were healed.” 2 Peter 2:24
If God’s Word tells us we “Can do all things through Christ Who strengthens us,” then we can do all things. And it is through the ichuos power of God’s Word operating in our hearts that gives us the supernatural strength to be a champion and victor over “all” things.
As I close, there is another verse that includes the word “all,” that I would recommend to read and believe for it will feed and strengthen your spirit in a marvelous way. It is Matthew 19:26 where it says, “With God all things are possible.” Remember, the word “all” in Philippians 4:13 and this verse means “everything and excluding nothing, even the smallest things.”
“With God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
Let us pray:
Dear Heavenly Father,
I thank You for Your Son Jesus Who is the Word that gives me life and light. Through the power of Your Word operating in me and through me, I know and believe I can do all things. I ask You to use me as a mighty instrument in Your hand for Your glory and for the salvation of souls. Graciously grant this prayer, I pray, for I ask it in the holy, mighty, and precious Name of Jesus. Amen.
© 2020 Richard A. MacKinnon, All Rights Reserved