Doing all things through Christ Phil 4:13
These words a filled with a remarkable confidence. Paul, now an older man, and a prisoner in Rome. Cp 1:5, 7. He has faced distresses beyond those of a prisoner, 1:15-16, 2:25-27. He also speaks of being abased and being hungry and suffering need, v12. He was no stranger to privation and distress. How different to the concept many have adopted with regard to the ministry as an occupation and a ‘meal-ticket’!
Yet in the midst of these distresses Paul speaks of his confidence in the power of God communicated to him through Christ that will enable him for his work.
I ALL THINGS: WHATEVER GOD REQUIRED OF HIM
- Scope. It is important to understand the scope of Paul’s words here. Many Christians have the wrong idea of what the power of God enables them to do! The word instructed v12 introduces the concept that defines the all things he refers to. He writes this as a man under Divine instruction. He is speaking simply of whatever he is commanded by God to do.
- All that God instructs us to do can be done. Paul states here: ‘I have the strength to do all I am instructed to do.’ He has access to and has actually obtained the necessary resources to do all that God requires of Him.
- Examples given. Cp v11-12. These are things that prove very difficult in the reality of experience. Such fluctuation between extremes is very stressful indeed. Yet Paul asserts that he has learned to deal with this.
II HE CAN ONLY DO SUCH THINGS THROUGH CHRIST.
- Exclusive. There is only one way in which Paul can do what is required of him. To be faithful, diligent etc in our service we must look to Him alone.
- Through Christ. Clearly, the resources required are outside of himself and primarily spiritual in nature. His words also indicate that these resources of strength are not simply for him! The title Christ identifies the Saviour as the Father’s anointed Redeemer, provided by Him to be everything that all His people need.
- Every blessing in God’s work must be traced back to the Saviour. Paul is specially speaking of the help that these saints have been to him by their renewed support, v10, 18. This is a primary means by which the Lord provides for His servants! In doing so they become His agents.
III IT IS THE SAVIOUR’S SPECIAL WORK TO ENABLE HIS PEOPLE TO SERVE HIM.
…which strengtheneth me.
- He actively strengthens His servants. The resources of Christ are not merely potential but are actively employed by Him to enable His servants. Cp Job 23:6.
- He does so continuously. This is the ongoing, present work of Christ in Paul. Cp 1:6.
- He does so personally. He works in me.
- He does so by His Spirit. The word Paul uses for strengtheneth is specially linked to the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Cp Luke 24:49. This is why we need to be filled with the Spirit.