Frustrated over her inability to tie her tennis shoes, my youngest grand-daughter caught a case of the, “I can not’s.” There she sat with tears filling her eyes, as she recited over and over again, “I can’t tie my shoes; I can only make one loop so I can’t, I can’t, I can’t tie my shoes!” Needless to say, before I knew it, this debilitating attitude took complete control as she began listing all of the other things, which she felt she could not accomplish.
Then it happened, she looked at me with those big beautiful deep brown eyes as she released one final sigh before tossing the shoe stings out of her hands, while falling victim to the growing cry of utter defeat~.
Maybe you can relate to me when I say how my heart ached for her, and how I wanted to simply pick her up, dry her tears, and tell her that it would be ok. Yes siree that’s right, I wanted to just tie them for her; better yet, at that very moment I wanted to pick her up, jump in the car, drive to the store, and just buy her a new pair of tennis shoes; the ones with the Velcro straps!
But, I couldn’t. I understood that doing so wasn’t what was needed… Instead the Holy Spirit of God allowed me to discern that this was simply another opportunity on the training field of life presented to me by God to redeem the time. Here was another chance for me to step up to the plate and train her up in the way in which she should go, and then I, her grandmother, could rest on God’s promise that when she is older, she would not depart from it.
So composing myself… I willingly accepted my responsibility to share God’s goodness with her in this little frustrating situation; so she could learn to automatically seek God for guidance when the BIG issues of life presented themselves. I am certain that you can agree with me when I say “the BIG issues of life are sure to come!”
I ask that you walk with me into today’s lesson as we review one who certainly could have fallen victim to a spirit of defeat in the midst of the small and BIG issues of life, but didn’t; the Apostle Paul.
Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Paul, a prisoner at Rome, being inspired by the Holy Spirit of God, writes to the Church at Philippi a letter of exhortation to do well; he additionally provides expressions of his own contentment in every condition by the power and strength of Christ Jesus.
“I can do”
Determined to live his life; even behind prison walls, as a living testimony to God’s goodness, here we find Paul writing a letter of exhortation (a letter of advice, encouragement, and comfort) to those at the church of Philippi that they too might be encouraged during all adversities.
Notice with me in just one verse prior to our Observation Scripture, in Philippians 4:12, how the Apostle Paul identified the various life conditions, which he had endured or was enduring since his confession of faith in Christ Jesus. Despite these afflictions Paul still pointed out to the believers at Philippi how living a life completely surrendered to Christ, brought with it a special act of grace. This special act of grace, given by The Holy Spirit of God, caused Paul to be content in all situations.
Let’s un-wrap this text for a full understanding in order to apply also into our everyday lives:
Referring to himself, Paul says: “I can do”
The Greek word translated “do” is Ischuo, pronounced is-khoo’-o (taken from The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon, Strong’s number 2480).
Means: to be strong, to be strong in body, to be robust, to be in sound health, to have power, to have power as shown by extraordinary deeds, to exert, wield power, to have strength to overcome, to be a force, avail, to be serviceable, to be able, and can.
Did you notice how the definition of the word “do” contains the preceding word “can” Which in itself means to be capable of?
Not boasting in himself but instead being confident and certain in the power of God through Christ Jesus, Paul declares he is capable!
Treasure Point: Our first step in eliminating the, “I can not’s” is to follow Paul’s example by verbalizing “I can!” We must remember that God has given us the knowledge, opportunity, and ability in His power through Christ, to do all that He has assigned under our care.
Through the Inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God, Paul then specifies for our benefit the sum of what he is able to accomplish. – All things
The Greek word translated “things” is Pas, pronounced pas (taken from The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon, Strong’s number 3956).
Means: individually, each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything, collectively some of all types, all things, all manner of, every thing, whatsoever.
Again did you notice how the definition of the word “things” contains the preceding word “all” which in itself means entire, every?
Notice that Paul did not include any exceptions. He did not say, I can do all things, “But…” or, “Except for…” instead Paul declares, “I can do all things” Paul wholeheartedly understood that NOTHING would be required of him, that he would not be able to carry out.
Treasure Point: For believer’s in Christ Jesus, our second step in eliminating the, “I can not’s” is to understand that, the first step has NO LIMITS!
Through Christ who strengthens me.
The Apostle Paul did not end his declaration without sharing with the Philippians Church (and us) the reason (why) he was fixed with such conviction. Listen as he provides the source of his ability which gave him such a strong conviction:
Paul clarifies for his readers that it was not in his own strength that he was able to do all things; however it is was only through Christ who strengthened him.
The Greek word translated “through” is En, pronounced en (taken from The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon, Strong’s number 1722).
Means: in, by; denoting a fixed position.
Liken unto a pilot on an airport runway communicating his/her position to the air traffic control tower to ensure runway safety; Paul provides his position to us that we too might run this race safe and in excellence. That position is: Through Christ
Philippians 3:3 – For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh,
Philippians 3:14 – I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
The Greek word translated “strengthens” is Endunamoo, pronounced en-doo-nam-o’-o (taken from The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon, Strong’s number 1743).
Means: to be strong, endue with strength, strengthen, to receive strength, be strengthened, and increase in strength
2 Corinthians 2:14 – Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.
2 Timothy 2:1 – [ Be Strong in Grace ] You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
Treasure Point: When we rest in certainty like Paul, that we are able to accomplish all things through Christ who strengthens us! Remember there are limitations when we are relying in “self”, however through Christ Jesus we are triumphant!
(1) Purchase a pin board and pins.
(2) Make a list of your, “I Can Not’s,” and cut them out individually.
(3) Print and cut the below Scriptures (and others that you may find from the Word of God).
(4) Place each “I cannot” against the board and before you pin it, place a Scripture on top of it (leaving only a portion of your I Can Not showing).
(5) Now PIN!
Treasure Point: Similar to the real life example which I gave of my granddaughter succumbing to a spirit of defeat, unfortunately this is the exact behavior exhibited by many of us who confess our belief in Christ.
It is my hope that after today’s lesson we will adopt the correct disposition (outlook) given to us richly in grace, by the power of Christ to accomplish all things.
Additional Memory Scriptures:
Mark 10:27 – 27 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”
Genesis 18:14 – 14 Is anything too hard for the Lord?
2 Timothy 1:7 – For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Deuteronomy 33:26-27 – 26 “There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, Who rides the heavens to help you, And in His excellency on the clouds. 27 The eternal God is your refuge, And underneath are the everlasting arms; He will thrust out the enemy from before you, And will say, ‘Destroy!’
The Lord reigns, He is clothed with majesty;
The Lord is clothed,
He has girded Himself with strength.
Surely the world is established, so that it cannot be moved.