A sermon idea based on Philippians 4:13, from the series You Can Do Hard Things.
Ever heard the rumor, “You can do anything you set your mind to do!”?
Spoiler: It’s not true. At least not literally.
There are two errors we make when it comes to how we think about our abilities:
- We think we can do anything we want to do (without pain or hard work).
- We think we can’t do much of anything more than what we’re already doing.
The Apostle Paul gave us a verse that, as many other verses we’ve studied lately, can often be taken quite out of its context…
Philippians 4:13 NRSV
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
This verse is just as true as any other verse in the Bible. It’s all God’s word, and it’s all true. BUT, it’s only as true as the accuracy of our interpretation of it, in its context.
Does it mean…
- I can fly faster than a speeding bullet through Christ?
- I am more powerful than a locomotive through Christ?
- I can leap tall buildings in a single bound through Christ?
No, and this verse wasn’t intended to hold up a lot of the weight we pin on it.
I want to add a qualifier to help us be more accurate in how we understand this verse…
You can do anything God wants you to do.
Jesus wants you to do some very, very hard things.
Some of you are in a hard season right now. And chances are, at some point in the middle of it, you’ve said…
I just can’t do this anymore…
But you can!!
Let’s look at Paul’s words again through the eyes of Eugene Peterson who created The Message, a paraphrased Bible…
Philippians 4:10 NRSV
I rejoice in the Lord greatly that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned for me, but had no opportunity to show it.
Paul was saying, I’ve been rich, and I’ve been poor, and I’ve learned that no matter what kind of circumstances I’m living through, I CAN keep on doing what God wants me to keep doing because Jesus will give me the strength to keep doing it and doing it and doing it!
The question is NOT, “Can I do this?”
Yes. Yes you can.
The real question is, “What’s holding me back?”
- Unrealistic expectations.
- Unresolved pain
- Unconfessed sin
- Unfounded fear
- Unrealized potential
So, what is it that God wants you to keep doing?
What hard thing is God calling you to be faithful to?
And what’s holding you back?