Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me”
by T.K. Herrin
When I need inspiration, I listen to gospel music. You can not only hear, but also sense the heart, energy and soul in gospel music. In addition to gospel music, other genres of music give me inspiration. A few weeks ago, I came across a song for Barack Obama’s political campaign, "Yes We Can," written by The Black Eyed Peas' frontman, songwriter and producer will.i.am, along with director and filmmaker Jesse Dylan, son of Bob Dylan. Regardless of whom you support politically, one has to admit that this song is extremely inspirational. I have listened to this song over a dozen times. The first time I heard it, I was reminded of Philippians 4:13. My thought was that this song could be the summation of millions with the resolve of looking beyond self and helping others: healing our nation and repairing this world; with the resolve of not settling for less than the best, but it starts at the individual level and that is where Philippians 4:13 provides insight.
For Christians, Philippians 4:13 is a clarion call for a strong self-image/self-esteem through the power of Christ. I want to go back to elementary and middle school where many of us learned how to diagram sentences. If I was to diagram this sentence, I would (although many English teachers would say there are several additional options) break the sentence into five parts: “I can”, “do all things”, “through”, “Christ”, “who strengthens me.”
The first part alone is powerful, “I can.” Sadly, so many are told or are led to believe they cannot. I see this all too often in the GLBTQ community. This is not the encouragement that Paul, the undisputed author of Philippians, had come to understand. In the verses prior to verse thirteen, Paul talks about the sufficiency and power of Christ he had come to know through life’s difficulties and triumphs. Paul says, “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.” Paul then transitions to the culmination of what life has taught him, “he can” – he can do all things, not some things or easy things, but all things through Christ.
Further, one can deduce that Paul was explaining that we could rely on self and have a solid self-image and self-esteem – all of which is good, but you can only do amazing things and overcome unsurpassable circumstances through Christ and the strength Christ provides. You have to look beyond self because self can only take you so far. Not to mention that self can also take you places that only God can get you out, but together, great things can, will, and do happen. Even at times when we do not see it or the circumstances do not line up, remember the sun always shine above the storm clouds – God is always there. Look beyond and above the clouds. Clouds are the distractions in seeing the sun, blue sky and the bright stars, but the purpose of clouds is to teach us that there will be temporary blockages, but ultimately the answer, solution, conclusion or success is always there beyond the cloud.
I encourage you to reflect on where your life is today, this is what Paul was doing in verses 10 -12. If you are in a good or not so good place, take hope from Paul, his experience, and the inspiration of the song, Yes We CAN. No matter what you are facing, I say to you, Yes You CAN, no matter what the doctor said, Yes You WILL, no matter what the pastor said, Yes You CAN, no matter what your parents said, Yes You CAN, no matter what your head tell you, Yes You CAN, Yes You CAN, Yes You CAN!!! – through Christ who strengthens you.
God bless and be encouraged, my prayer for you is Ephesians 3:16, “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man.”
© 2008 T.K. Herrin, aka, SoCalTheologian
www.wildernesswanderings.org, a GLBTQ Christian web journal.
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