I’m currently reading a devotional on my bible app, Twisted, subtitled Most Misused Verses of The Bible.
Each day, when I open the plan and read the focus scripture for the day, I almost always start laughing. It is as though I can guess what the author has in mind, and cannot help but agree that, surely, those verses must have been misused. The author delves into the context in which those verses were written, who wrote them, and at what time, to help his readers understand the verses better and not misuse them.
“When purpose is not known, abuse is inevitable.” – (Late) Dr. Myles Munroe
I found today’s devotional content particularly illuminating, and thought to share, to cast light abroad more hearts:
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 NKJV
Who hasn’t thought of Philippians 4:13 before a big test, meeting, or game? Maybe you were the athlete who quoted it after completing a nearly impossible feat. Or maybe it was quoted to you by an old acquaintance after they explained an, “amazing business opportunity.” “Sure it sounds risky,” they said, “but just like the Bible says, ‘You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.’”
Too often, Philippians 4:13 is quoted for self-motivation alone. A more secular version might sound like, “If we set our mind to it, whatever it is, we’ll accomplish it.” Sure, “through Christ” is in our Bible version, but hopefully He’s not there to just give us strength to accomplish our goals. Does Christ give us strength to do wonderful things including athletic feats? Yes. However, the original author of this coffee-mug verse wasn’t trying to win the Iron Man or triple his income in as little as three months (neither of which are necessarily bad things). Paul was writing—from jail—to the church he helped start in Philippi.
If Paul had the power to do all things, wouldn’t “get out of jail” be at the top of his to-do list? After all, if he could really do all things, he’d be all-powerful. The next three verses give additional meaning to verse 13. Paul described experiencing poverty, hunger, want, and despite it all, contentment. Then, he added verse 13 to basically say he could do all this only because of Christ. Paul’s words were less about motivating the Philippians to accomplish great things and more about inspiring them to trust God despite horrible things. In fact, the original language reads more like, “I have strength for all things. Why? Because Jesus.” (Ephesians 3:14-19)
Are you in a bad break up? Rebound to Him; He makes you whole. Bad medical news? Cling to Him; He is life. Lost your job? Submit to Him; He’s your provider. Are you “in want” like Paul? Come to Him; you can be content. Through Christ, you have strength for all these things.
Consider: What trial are you facing? How can you rely on Christ for strength?”
If I were to go first, and give answer to the question posed at the end for reflection, I will say waiting; waiting for my induction ceremony into the Medical and Dental Council Nigeria. It’s been over three months since completion of my final exams. This wait has not been very palatable. Initially, it felt like a holiday, but you know how you can grow weary when it feels like you are stuck. Through it all, I have tried to maintain a positive attitude and make the most of the time. I often say, in Medicine, you don’t get a lot of spare time. So, why don’t you utilize this: Learn something new, travel to some place new, read something different, learn a skill, a language… Add value to yourself, so you can be of more value to others. I am trying to stay productive.
How am I relying on Christ for strength?
He gives me inspiration. As I lean on Him, I learn more about Him and about myself in the process. This can also be applied to the single season. You can let yourself be miserable, wishing to move out of that phase, that you fail to maximize the season. As if to buttress this, I’m on my way to church while developing this post. In the course of the sermon titled Faith For Finances, the man of God asks a question: “What level of skill/training do you have now, while you are waiting for “the opportunity?” Then he goes further, “For some of you, the training you need now is financial literacy.” I grab that and hold onto it. The waiting time is time for preparation. “Winter is coming!!!” You prepare for war in time of peace. Now, over to you. Your answer to the question posed for reflection. I hope you learnt a number of things. I will be happy to hear in the comments section.
So much love,
God’s love and mine,