October 1, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”—Philippians 4:13 (NIV)
What’s your secret?
In today’s verse, Paul just outright tells us the secret of contentment and joy-filled living . . . for free. But before we learn the secret, what does it mean to be content (autarkēs)? Well, it’s a complete satisfaction, a feeling of sufficiency and wholeness. It’s being content with life because of our relationship with God. It’s a feeling of self-sufficiency that is entirely supplied and produced by God through the indwelling power of Christ.
So, what’s the secret? “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
There are few verses in all of Scripture that are more commonly misunderstood than this one. As hard as this is to believe, Philippians 4:13 isn’t about God helping you win a sports game, get a promotion, build a successful business, or buy a Ferrari. It’s about something much more important and essential to life, particularly the Christian life! In actuality, this commonly quoted verse can be more accurately described this way: Through Christ, I have strength to endure in all things.
Essentially, we’re able to endure or bear anything that has come and will come our way through the strength Christ provides. It’s the Lord’s supernatural power to make us an immovable object in the face of any and all irresistible forces in order to achieve what the Lord wills and purposes for us. It’s a combative, confrontive force to endure and accomplish all He gives us faith for. So, in every way, faith and strength go hand-in-hand.
And all of this—the faith and strength to not only endure and walk in His purposes and plan, even in suffering and trials, but to do so with satisfaction, peace, and joy—is built entirely upon the foundation of God’s love for us! Where do we see this? In Romans 8:35–39 (NIV), which says, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword. . . . No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Friends, the truth is we see the opposite of what Paul is talking about everywhere, every day, all around us. We see people who aren’t satisfied, who have so much and yet feel empty and lost, who fall apart when life doesn’t live up to expectations. But it doesn’t have to be this way for them or you! As believers, we have the Spirit of God living in us and, in Him, we are made whole, full, satisfied, have peace, joy, are filled with faith, and built up with a supernatural strength to not only endure but overcome everything this world can throw our way. And we can show those who don’t yet know Jesus the way to a life of contentment here and now, as well as an eternal glory to come!
Pause: Where does the strength of the believer come from?
Practice: The strength of Philippians 4:13 comes from a relationship with Jesus, from walking with Him and knowing Him deeply. What steps can you take to intentionally spend more time with Him in this season?
Pray: Father, You are my strength, my joy, my hope, my peace, and my salvation. In Your love, I am whole, satisfied, and complete. All sufficiency and satisfaction comes from the grace You pour out over me daily. Without You, I can endure nothing, I can do nothing, I am nothing. Thank You, Jesus, for being my all in all, for revealing Yourself to me, and for the faith You give me to walk with You in all things. Amen.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.