Philippians 4-13 doesn’t mean I can do anything I want

I’m sure we’ve all heard the quote, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

It’s offered any time we set out to do something that we want to do, or that we don’t want to do, or that seems too big for us to do, etc.

I’ve seen it used out of context and inappropriately lots of times.

The verse is in the context of contentment.

Here’s what the total passage says:

But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 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. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

It’s not saying I can do anything I want to do, or that I set my mind to do, because Christ will automatically empower me to do it.

Paul is instead saying that anything Christ calls us to do, Christ will strengthen us to do.

‘All things’ must be ‘the things Christ wants.’ One perspective listens to me, and the other listens to Him.

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