Probably one of the most popular scriptures today is Philippians 4:13 because of how often NBA star and open Christian Steph Curry uses it. But many believers did not know the true context of the scripture prior to last Monday's loss of the Golden State Warriors to the Cleveland Cavaliers for the NBA championship.
Philippians 4:13 says, "I can do all things through him who strengthens me." To many Christians, this scripture has become a mantra that they use to declare "well, now that I'm a Christian, I can do whatever I want and God will help me do it." Sounds funny how that kind of statement is really just a mix up of who's God and who's following.
The Lordship of Jesus Christ is the foundational and elementary precept that we hold on to walking into a relationship with Him. Yes, Jesus is our friend and He loves us dearly, but it's not enough to know just that. I can be friends with my Senior Pastor anytime, but the moment I start treating him as if he weren't my boss, my job would be on the line.
The problem with the big misconception of "I can do all things through Christ" is the wrong notion that we're in charge of our lives. And while God gives us that prerogative, are you really willing to make Jesus Christ the Lord over all things in your life, and as you do all things, allow Him to enable you not just to win, but even to fail and lose every so often?
The two prior verses before Philippians 4:13—Philippians 4:11-12—help us frame this a little better: "Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need."
That's right, Philippians 4:13 isn't an assurance that nothing bad is going to happen to you because you're a Christian. In John 16:33, Jesus said so Himself that in this world we will face trials. But Jesus also promised that in the midst of failure and trial, He will be there to give us strength, allowing us to thrive, learn and grow.
In this life, we will be brought low. If we are in Christ we will be okay with that because in any and every circumstance, the Holy Spirit works in our heart to give us joy, peace and strength to face not just the victories but even the ugliest defeat, knowing that ultimately through Christ, we have already won the race of life and will claim our ultimate prize one day, which is Jesus Christ Himself.