I can remember as a young Christian, Philippians 4:13 was my favorite verse, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Admittedly, I focused too often on the first half of the verse, “I can do all things” using this as a self-empowerment exercise. However, I discovered living in my own strength generated inconsistent behavior in my spiritual walk. If you look at Paul’s writings in context, he emphasized the last half of 4:13, “through Christ who strengthens me.”
Earlier in Philippians 3:4-6, Paul lists some of his many stellar, high profile accolades produced by an “I can do all things” mentality yet ultimately counting them all “loss” and “rubbish”…“7 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ” (3:4-6)
The emphasis to Christ-Followers must no longer be “I can” for “I” has been crucified with Christ. Galatians 2:20 states this clearly, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” It is no longer “I” but “Christ living through me.” So, I can do all things not because of me but because of the power, courage, boldness, compassion, kindness, forgiveness, and humility of Christ who lives in and through me.
In 2 Corinthians 12:9&10, Paul the Apostle puts things in 20/20 perspective, “9 But the Lord said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” In the spiritual realm, my own strength has no currency. My best efforts are considered bankrupt. Power comes from the Holy Spirit. Abundant living results when I get off and stay off the throne room of my life and become wholeheartedly obedient to God.
Once you get “a Christ living through me by faith” mentality, there is such confidence not because of “me” but because of the all-powerful God living within me. 1 John 5:14&15 explains, “14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” “I can do all things THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME.”