I offered in my last post my verse for the year and God’s word for me: empower.
I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.] –Philippians 4:13
If you didn’t just read that, I encourage you to go back. It’s so rich with promise and truth! But I also love the next verse (Philippians 4:14) and it’s not one we normally put with this powerhouse.
Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction.
Before saying the familiar, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength,” Paul was thanking the church for their concern and care for him. He commends them, says that He has learned to be content in Christ for whatever comes his way, then that they’ve done well to share in his trouble.
It’s so sad/amazing that we can take this statement of Christ’s strength enabling us and extricate it to make it an individualistic mantra of not needing anything or anyone else. At first, it appears Paul initially agrees with this view, but then he brings it back to “you did right to help me.”
I myself tend to be a person who ponders and attempts to figure things out on my own. Even in distress or hardship, I may have a difficult time accepting help. The truth is, yes, He does give me strength so that I can do all things, but if I’m not paying attention, I may miss that He’s giving me strength in the help from someone else.
It’s right for us to share in each other’s afflictions and trials, but it’s never one-sided. There will be times others notice you’re struggling and you have to be honest enough to let them in; and other times, you may need to ask for help.
Either way, it does not diminish that Christ is giving you strength.
The promises of God, His testimony through scripture, is ultimately to and through community. At the marriage supper of the Lamb, Revelation 19:7 declares, “the bride has made herself ready.”
We need true vulnerability to allow others that position in our lives. You empower others and others empower you–that’s what I believe God is after for me in this year.
Just like every cell carries the DNA for everything but only expresses what it was intended to express, you have the fullness of Christ’s strength and enabling power, but you still cannot do it on your own. You express what you have, and I express what I have.
It can be scary to think about this level of dependence, but you can trust Him nonetheless. He is surely good.
What are your thoughts? Have you experienced this strength in terms of others in your life? How or when?
Prayer appreciated: I fly to South Florida today for a weekend conference where I get to lead worship (back on Monday)! Believing God’s love and presence will be overwhelming for everyone who is a part! Thanks so much.