Why You Cannot "Do All Things" Through Christ
You can’t actually “do all things” in Christ.
Not the way you think you can anyway.
I realize this sounds like sacrilege given the suburban spin we’ve put on this biblical expression, but it’s true. Paul did not intend some sort of personal triumphalism here.
Flatly, the Apostle Paul couldn’t “do all things” either. Paul could not get out of prison—which is where he penned this verse (Philippians 4:13)—no matter how intensely he believed in Jesus. He was stuck there until God determined otherwise.
But, he could “be imprisoned” in Christ who strengthened him to be imprisoned. Prison is such a good place to discover Christ’s sufficiency.
The true meaning of “all things” might disappoint contemporary Christians. But, it shouldn’t.
The actual point is even more glorious than the suburban legend. It gets us so much closer to grace. We normally take it to mean something like, “I can do anything I set my mind to if I simply believe.”
That is … I can achieve any personal goal by faith.
Get this job.
Win this game.
Ace this test.
But, the verse has little (or nothing) to do with our personal achievement in the face of severe odds. It’s not about our achievements at all. It’s about Christ’s achievement and a constant dependence on him regardless of one’s station in life—good or bad.
Besides, there’s a real danger in applying it the way we’re prone to.
What if you can’t “do” it?
What if things don’t work out—no matter how much you believe?
The Lord is at work redeeming and sanctifying a people for Himself.