“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
You cannot view this verse in isolation you need to consider the previous verse first.
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” Philippians 4: 11
Philippians 4:13 is not about how one can literally do anything we put our minds to simply because we are in Christ. Paul has a specific context in mind here—and it is not about attaining your personal goals and aspirations, developing a healthy conception of self-worth, nor is it designed to be a coping mechanism to deal with the grit and grime of life. Truthfully, the passage isn’t even about finding the secret of contentment in all things, despite insistence from many that this is the focal point of this passage. This interpretation does have more validity to it due to the following passage.
“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.” Philippians 4:11-12
Paul undoubtedly affirms learning contentment in all circumstances. However, the overarching point of Paul to the Philippians in this passage is not contentment, but one of enduring through suffering, particularly, suffering brought on through no fault of our own.
The Letter to the Philippians is one of Paul’s epistles written from prison, which means that as he pens this letter, he is chained to a Roman guard waiting for his trial before Caesar. In the midst of Paul’s expression of gratitude for their financial support, he takes the opportunity to encourage his people that Christ Himself is the source of all comfort, hope, and faith. The simple reason why Paul encourages them in this manner is they have been appointed, not only to eternal life but to suffer for the sake of Christ, which in particular for them means they will experience the same things Paul has (Philippians 1:29-30). Paul is not only referring to being jailed for Christ’s sake, but to enduring physical persecution (2 Corinthians 11:23-27).
It is in light of this that Paul then ministers to those in Philippi by highlighting the hope of the gospel, the resurrection, and the object of their faith: Jesus Christ. He is all-sufficient and provides for our every need by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Bible teaches us how to embrace suffering for the glory of Christ because it is the means by which we enter His Kingdom.
Adapted from articles by Grayson Gilbert on Suffering. Click on embrace suffering and you will connect to another great article by Grayson Gilbert.