“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13).
When Paul made this statement he wasn’t just talking about being able to do high things, but he was referring to both high and low things. He was saying he has a supernatural ability to be able to face shame or affliction and he could also thrive in glory. Neither of both can break him. Some people are afraid of having too much money or power, they fear it will corrupt them. But here is Paul saying, “no matter how rich and powerful I am it cannot make me rotten. Rather I would shine so pure and undefiled.”
“I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound.” (Phil 4:12).
In this post I would not focus on the “high/abound” aspect but the low. Now, let me paraphrase that verse, “I know how to survive when I am brought low. I have a supernatural strength that allows me strive no matter how low I am brought. Bring me to the depth of humiliation, inflict on me the greatest affliction, and I will not snap, neither will I be broken. There is no situation I go through in life that I cannot survive, for I am strong in Christ”. Oh, how many of us have such conviction. We are so afraid of shame, suffering, and humiliation.
We are afraid of what might happen when things go wrong. “Who cares what would happen”, says the conviction of Paul, “whatever happens I am well capable of facing it and coming out glorious. Yes, bring it on, bring the worse you’ve got, for I am sufficient through the strength of Christ in me”. Do you know that fear has it root in this very thing. We think about the worse case scenario and how badly we would be affected by it, so we fear. We fear having to suffer, having to face shame, to face death, challenges and etc. But you have a sufficiency in Christ and as a result you are more than enough to face just anything.
Even if the worst of afflictions comes, you can face it and still come out glorious. It would not mare you, for you transcend it. You are indestructible, you came from a lineage that can survive anything. Nothing can break you, nothing can imprison you in depression, and nothing can bend you. You are made with a material that is unbendable, unbreakable, and incapable or rot, no matter the condition it is exposed to. A material that would come out more beautiful and more glorious no matter the condition it passes through. Even fire can’t destroy it, it would only make it shine brighter.
This was what Paul was referring to when he said, “I can do all things”. He meant that he could survive in the middle of a desert with no food or water. Because of the Christ in him he has become such a supernatural being that he could survive anything. Jesus spend 40 days without eating and yet still resist the temptation of turning stone to bread. Many of us don’t understand what that means. At 40 days without food your body gets so deprive that it becomes delusional. You will look at sand and you’ll think it’s sandwich. At that state you can eat anything. Now imagine having the power to actually turn all the stones around you to bread. Nobody needs to tempt you before you attempt it. But Jesus has so much grace that he could tame his flesh in such a state. He could survive anything and not break.
Yes, for someone to survive 40 days fasting and resist the temptation of turning stone to bread, this means he could survive any affliction and not break. This was why it was easy for him to survive all the humiliation on that crucifixion day and yet not destroy those men who afflicted. He had the power to turn them all to dust, yet he chose to rely on that grace to face the humiliation. Yes, he can do all things, both high and low. He can be high and destroy everyone, and at the same time he has enough sufficiency to be low and allow himself be humiliated by everyone.
This is the sufficiency of our Lord, and that sufficiency now lives in us. If you are conscious of this sufficiency you will never be afraid of what tomorrow will bring, because whatever comes you can face it— you are indestructible. Superman is never afraid of standing in front of a moving bullet. In fact, that is what he does everyday. He knows he is indestructible, as such he is not afraid to be in such situations. When we realize how indestructible we are we would stop being afraid of anything. At this state fear becomes alien to you. You are above fear; you are above any situations that may come your way. Yes, you are up to the tasks, you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.
Note: I wrote, “even if the worst comes”, I am not saying we should go about looking for the worst, or that we should embrace the work of the devil in our lives. The devil is defeated, and he must remain defeated in our lives. Let the Lord (his will and works) alone reign in our lives.