I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
This is a great little verse that we read, but I wonder how many people understand or call on it when they need it?
Let me tell you a story. Many years ago this verse surprised me, but if I tell you why, I‘ll ruin the story. We lived in Spokane with our first two kids, Jen and Kris. Finances were somewhat tough, but we managed. Once a month we would do something special with the kids for a treat. An ice cream, a doughnut, or a hamburger at McDonald’s. This was mostly done on Saturday.
One month we planned a really big treat, a “Happy Meal!” Boy, that was going to be the best treat ever, because they had never had one. They were expensive and the toy that you paid for was usually cheap. We packed the kids in the car and started out. We were having company for Sunday lunch the next day and we had to pick up a couple of things at the store on the way. Just a quick stop and we would be on the way.
We got to the store, and we all went in and picked up the things we needed, but the checkout line was a bit long. Kris, my son, got mad at his sister about something and smacked her. Not hard, but hard enough to make her cry a bit. I looked at Guyla and said that I was going to put him in the car.
Took him to the car, made sure he was safe, and told him to think about what he had done, and we would talk when I got back. I locked the car and walked back towards the store. However, as I walked toward the store, I turned so he didn’t see me and came back towards the car to watch him.
Guyla and Jen were coming out of the store and back to the car. I cut over to them and we got into the car. Kris was waiting, very soberly. We all talked about what happened in the store, and he apologized to his sister. At that point I reminded him of the trip to get the Happy Meal, and that I wasn’t sure if we should continue or if we should do it another time, because I didn’t know if I could trust him to not misbehave at the restaurant.
He said he could, and that we should go to McDonald’s. So, I asked him what made him so sure that he could keep his promise.
His words: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
We went to McDonald’s! He got his Happy Meal!
We as adults, read that verse and say, “That’s true”, and we go on. I know that that’s how I used to look at it. My understanding of that verse has changed though.
The verse says that: “I can do all things”. “All things,” are not everything that you can think of like jumping out of an airplane without a parachute and surviving. I suppose that it could happen, but the reality of God blessing the foolishness of it, in my thinking, is not probable. So, I consider the project that I am undertaking in relation to what God’s will is for my life and then ask for Him to bless it and strengthen me to complete it in such a manner that He will be glorified.
That’s the second part: “Through Christ who strengthens me.” Christ is the only one through whom we are strengthened. And finally: As human beings, especially men, we want to believe that we can do it by ourselves. But if you are like me when I try to do it that way, God always comes back and asks me, “How’s that working for you dude?” I find it is easier to call on His strength the first time, rather than having to do the project again, when I have His strength.
As I end this session, I would pray that each of you consider what I said. I have been successful in a lot of projects over my lifetime because I operate from Philippians 4:13.