We love Philippians ch.4 v.13 – it is just so incredibly positive to say that I can do all things through Christ. It makes perfect sense. If you believe that you are empowered by the Creator of the universe who intimately knows how everything was created and is capable of supplying the knowledge and skill required to bring about His will through you at the time when He wants it; then this verse is axiomatic.
We can do all things because we are an integral part of the means He has chosen to redeem all things.
The flip-side is that if we find we’re in a situation where we are powerless and unable to make a difference it challenges us on two fronts:
Is this because we are no longer exercising His will. Did we have a clear vision of what He wanted to accomplish? Are our own motives and agendas pure?
Are we being challenged to take on this because God is trying to demonstrate His greatness through our powerlessness? Should we be looking for His miraculous intervention to transform a hopeless situation through our persistent and faithful prayer?
This is why James tells people to pray for wisdom! We need to know the difference between these situations.
However, there is another important point that needs to be stressed. When Paul wrote about being able to do all things, he was not speaking from a position of great material prosperity and physical comfort – indeed, his point was that he had known great challenges and need. But God had been faithful in all circumstances, had met his needs and empowered him to fulfil his calling – providing all he needed to do this – whether it was physical strength, skills, knowledge, supernatural power or just getting the timing right.
Because of his experience of God’s provision in the past, Paul was able to look on negative circumstances with a positive outlook and be certain that God would not only see him through it, but would do so in such a way that God was glorified.