5 Incredible Things We Can Do through Christ

hands holding a cross, I can do all things through Christ

5 Incredible Things We Can Do through Christ

It was the first scripture verse I learned. Ever. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13. I was in Sunday School, and I remember being in the gathering hall with other kids and reciting that verse.

It was the first scripture verse I learned. Ever. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13. I was in Sunday School, and I remember being in the gathering hall with other kids and reciting that verse.

As a kid, I loved superheroes. I watched Superfriends and Spiderman on Saturday morning cartoons, read comics, watched the Christopher Reeve Superman, and consumed the TV shows like the Hulk.

Therefore, when I memorized that verse, I thought that Jesus might help me fly or lift a car. Jesus would help me be a superhero, right?

What Are Some Ways People Misinterpret Philippians 4:13?

Perhaps that verse conjured up different images or thoughts for others not six years old.

It’s possible, however, to read the verse and think of getting the perfect job, or having the best marriage, or even being an astronaut. It said, “I can do ALL THINGS,” you know.

We could even consider religious activities as possibilities. We might heal the sick or raise the dead.

To be clear, God is still in the miracle-working biz, and any ministry that matters requires his strength. He is the Creator (Genesis 1:1), life Himself (John 1:1-5), and sustains all creation with the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3).

However, the intent of this particular verse can still be misinterpreted. The problem is the term “all things” that leaves it open to what I think or want, apart from the context.

I don’t get God’s power for what I want or think. Scripture says we don’t get our requests because we ask according to our own desires, not God’s will (James 4:3).

When we deal with Scripture, context is massively important.

What Is the Context of the Passage in Philippians?

Paul planted the Philippian church in 49 AD, the first Christian church in Europe. Acts 16 details the amazing narrative of Paul and Silas’ ministry in that Roman colony, including being delivered from prison.

Interestingly enough, Paul penned this letter from prison in Rome.

He feels great love and responsibility for this church, as a spiritual father.

In the closing of chapter 4, Paul notes their care for him while under house arrest but clarifies that while he might suffer, he was never in need. God sustains him.

What Does ‘I Can Do All Things through Christ’ Really Mean?

God empowers us to do the impossible, and sometimes his grace leads us to supernatural miracles.

Remaining constant and at peace, faithful in the midst of all everyday life can throw at us, that is also a miracle. Perhaps more so.

Paul has learned the secret—despite the situation, God’s strength can keep us satisfied and content in Him. The sufferings or pleasures of this life can’t compare to what we possess in Christ. The world can’t shake or even touch the rest of the Father because it is from an eternal Kingdom “not of this world” (John 18:36).

Everything of this world is temporary, and we can’t place our trust here, not because the world is inherently evil but it is broken and can’t satisfy our longing for something greater, complete, eternal. Even creation cries out for that redemption (Romans 8:19). Trying to find security in this world produces fear, anxiety, hate, and death—the opposite of God’s will.

Placing our trust in God and participating in the eternal Kingdom produces “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).

Paul shares a secret—a truth that seems more impossible when we think about it. We don’t have to be manipulated or bound to what the world or the devil throws at us. We can remain content in every circumstance. We can remain steadfast.

Through Christ.

What Things Can We Do through Christ?

Let’s explore what we can do through Christ.

Remain Content

It doesn’t take much to tempt me to be anxious or feel hopeless. An unseen crisis at work throws my schedule into chaos, and I get behind on projects. Or simple, dreaded traffic happens, and I’m suddenly faced with my own petty and weak emotions.

Awful things legitimately happen, though. A friend commits suicide. A church member tells me they’re getting a divorce. A family member dies. I start to feel helpless against such chaos and pain, or maybe I should have done more to stop it.

By the way, God doesn’t want us to ignore our emotions. We can’t stop that initial reaction. God doesn’t expect us to deny we feel sorrow or hunger or pain. The power is what we do with those thoughts and feelings. My mentor used to say, “I can’t help if a bird lands in my hair, but I can keep him from building a nest there.”

God created our emotions and intellect, and He cares about us holistically. If we are bound to our thinking or feeling, we aren’t free. He wants to redeem and renew us through revelation, so our thoughts and emotions line up with Truth. We should experience sorrow and joy and grief and celebration. Those things should not shake our faith, however. Through Christ, rather, we grow in faith.

What does “through Christ” mean? We have the Spirit of power, love, and sound mind instead of fear (2 Timothy 1:7). We can take every thought captive and direct our attention to God, not being swayed by lesser things (2 Corinthians 10:5). We remain steadfast. This is only an option through Christ.

This takes discipline through prayer, Scripture, and more. But as we root ourselves in the Father’s love and the Kingdom of God, we can live unshakable.

Have hope in times of poverty

Paul essentially lists four examples of life’s circumstances that we can endure in faith. It’s a comprehensive list.

Here he addresses poverty, the lack of material goods. We need certain things to survive in this world, and often they require money. When we focus on our material lack, we extrapolate forward to insecurity and more need. Society tries to define us by our possessions; just look at most modern ads.

Disciples of Christ combat this in two ways. First, we choose to be thankful, remembering what God has done for us, especially how He has helped us through hard times and will again (Philippians 4:6-7). We choose to praise Him for the riches He’s already given us.

Second, we remind ourselves what is true in Heaven. My Father owns the “cattle on a thousand hills” and loves me. My physical situation might look like poverty, but I am wealthy in God (Luke 16:11). The Father, who knows what we need, will provide (even supernaturally) if we “seek first the Kingdom and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). This gives us hope even when it looks bleak.

Keep humble in times of wealth

Shouldn’t we be happy when we have money? How could wealth be a problem?

The disciples asked this same question (Matthew 19:16-26). The rich young man had everything yet still knew he needed more. Jesus told him to sell his possessions and give to the poor, and then the young man would find what he was looking for.

The young man went away sad, unable to part with his stuff. Jesus said, “It is harder for a rich man to enter the Kingdom than for a camel to enter through the eye of the needle.”

The twelve said, “Then who can be saved?” Wealth seemed like the ultimate blessing from God, but Jesus here taught it kept people from God.

“It is impossible,” Jesus replied. But with God, he says, all things are possible. 

How did a camel fit through the eye of a needle? Supposedly, the “eye of a needle” was what they called the smaller gate into a city used at night, which kept people within the walls safe from thieves. To use the gate, a merchant would have to take possessions from the camel’s back, hand it through the short gate, and only then could the camel follow on its knees, naked of any material goods.

A large portion of people who win the lottery declares bankruptcy within a few years. Great wealth and success ruin people because they begin to put their trust in riches, which is a curse. The love of money is a great evil (1 Timothy 6:10).

God isn’t against wealth, but because he loves us, He warns us not to put our trust in it. Apart from God, it is impossible to remain humble and generous with riches. Through Christ, we can.

Find sustenance in God during times of physical need

Without food or water, we die. Physical need includes more than hunger, though. Constant pain wears us down, affects our thinking and emotions, even our beliefs. Our bodies begin to tell us that it needs to be satisfied with food or sleep or sex, and then we are willing to choose desperate acts to acquire what our bodies say we “need.”

Jesus fasted 40 days then was tempted by the Devil (Matthew 4:1-11), famously targeting the need to eat food, which I imagine was a powerful temptation at that point. Jesus answered - “Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that continually proceeds from the mouth of God.”

God sustains all things with the word of His power. Jesus could only make a different choice based on His understanding of that truth. There is a deeper satisfaction. A deeper need in every human being.

Christ gives us that deeper satisfaction, beyond the things of this world, a peace that goes further than any worldly reasoning. In finding that joy, we are sustained on a core level, and therefore we don’t have to allow temporary suffering to blind or enslave us.

Stay on Mission during times of pleasure

If sex with one woman is great, then sex with a thousand must be better? 

Just like placing our trust in wealth, chasing pleasure will destroy us. Pleasure in and of itself isn’t evil, but the pleasures of this world pale in comparison to the peace and joy of God. Worldly pleasures are fleeting, and we will need another fix tomorrow if that pleasure is the goal. Further, we start to use those pleasures to medicate what is broken within us, believing bigger lies in addiction.

We don’t have to look far to see people who are still empty even with all of life’s pleasures available to them. Celebrities consume to their heart’s desire but it’s never enough. They think they’ll be satisfied, but it’s a lie. Again, temporary things will never satisfy an eternal being, which is who we are.

Solomon even deals with this (Ecclesiastes 2:11). One of the wealthiest kings in history, he gave himself to wine and women. And found it empty. Nothing. Meaningless.

Pleasure can’t give life meaning. Read that again.

We were created to have meaning (Genesis 1:28). We were born again to be on mission, to live the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:11-21). God gives us this because He wants us to experience the greatest joy.

Through Christ, we can find our greatest joy in God and His mission, in spreading His love, drawing people to the Father (John 4:34).

Paul had to learn the “secret” through living it and applying it. Through Christ, we have every need met, and this world can do nothing to change what He’s given us and what we possess in Him.

I have learned to be content while enduring all things—pleasure and pain—through Christ who strengthens me.

Paul shared the secret with us. Now let’s share it with others.

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/shuang paul wang

Britt MooneyBritt Mooney (with his amazing wife, Becca) has lived as a missionary in Korea, traveled for missions to several countries, and now lives in Suwanee GA as a church planter that works bi-vocationally with Phoenix Roasters, a missional coffee company. He has a podcast about the Kingdom of God called Kingdom Over Coffee and is a published author with Say Yes: How God-Sized Dreams Take Flight.


This article is part of our larger resource library of popular Bible verse phrases and quotes. We want to provide easy to read articles that answer your questions about the meaning, origin, and history of specific verses within Scripture's context. It is our hope that these will help you better understand the meaning and purpose of God's Word in relation to your life today.

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