I Can Do All Things

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A 6-year-old girl once asked her father, "What do you have to do to become a doctor?"

Her father said, "You have to do extremely well in school, take a lot of math and science, get into an excellent college, make the highest grades possible, and then go to med school, and follow that with an internship. Then you can start your own practice. Honey, as smart as you are, you can be anything you want to be."

The little girl thought about that and then asked, "What do you have to do to be queen?"

I hate to be the one to burst your bubble, but I want to let you know that there's a verse in the Bible that you may have mis-interpreted for many years. I know that I have. You see, many of us have heard lessons which promote positive thinking. We've been told, "If you can see it, you can achieve it." So, if you're a golfer, visualize getting through the golf course at 4 under par. If you need to lose weight, visualize what your life will be like when you are 60 pounds thinner. If you want to climb the corporate ladder, visualize yourself with the position and the salary you desire.

And the verse we have often used to give us the strength to achieve these things is Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. There are, no doubt, some Christian athletes headed to Beijing this week to compete in the Olympics who anticipate bringing home a gold medal because I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Now I don't dispute that there is great value in having a vision of where we want to be and what we want to accomplish. And I don't dispute that God will bless us with strength in all endeavors that glorify Him. But I believe it is wrong to teach that anyone can accomplish anything because God will give you the strength. Not every little boy with a dream of playing in the NFL or the NBA is going to achieve that. Not every athlete that quotes Philippians 4:13 this week will bring home a gold medal from Beijing. And you can dream about being king or queen all you want to – dreaming it won't make it happen.

The truth is that for many of us, young or old, life is not always going to turn out exactly like we thought it would. And when people are made to think that if you believe something with all your heart, it will come to pass, then when it doesn't happen that way, they get discouraged, depressed, feel like failures, get angry, or they give up. Christians may even begin to lose their faith in God. "God, how could you let this happen to me? This is not what I wanted! You promised I could do all things!"

When you look at the context of Philippians 4:13, though, it contains a more powerful message than we ever imagined. In the previous verse, Paul writes, I know how to be abased and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. (Phil. 4:12).

What is it that Paul can do through Christ? He can be content no matter what the situation -- whether he has plenty or he has nothing, whether he comes in first place with a gold medal or he comes in last place, whether he makes the team or he doesn't make the team. Whatever the circumstance, whatever he may have or not have, Paul learned to be content, to be joyful. Why? Because I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!

May this verse serve as an encouragement to you, not to achieve great victories in life, but to find joy even in the midst of defeat.

Source: Allan Smith: Thought for the Day


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