“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” -Philippians 4:12-13
How often do we try to do things on our own strength only to watch it fail? We pour seemingly endless amounts of energy, time, and resources into building success in an area of our life… then it just evaporates before our eyes in a moment.
Paul experienced highs and lows physically and spiritually throughout his journey of spreading the Good News of Jesus’ Kingdom. What kept him going? Why was he able to face impossible odds with such determination?
How often do we ask ourselves if what we are doing is something God can bless? It seems like we prefer to do whatever makes us happy, then blindly ask for God’s blessing. We like to tell ourselves that the Holy Spirit will provide strength for anything we do, but that’s not what Jesus said.
“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” -John 14:12-14
Jesus promised to provide strength, give us what we ask, when it comes to doing the work He’s asked us to continue on earth. Note that the promise of “ask me for anything” is preceded by “do the works I have been doing.” God’s blessing follows our obedience to His work.
Earlier in Philippians 4, Paul talks about this peace that accompanies the hardship he endures for Christ:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:6-7
Paul can encourage the Philippians that God’s peace, the same peace that he has experienced, will give them confidence as they are placing their trust in God.
We can experience this same peace, because we have committed to placing God and His desires first in our life, it doesn’t mean we won’t face difficulties. Jesus promised we would have difficulties, but we will experience a strength and peace that is beyond reason. We will experience God’s stability in a way that let’s us join in with the words of Paul in saying, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”