“I can do all things through a verse taken out of context,” says a popular mug that pokes fun at the frequent misuse and misinterpretation of Philippians 4:13. In poking fun at this verse, the mug aims to remind readers of the Bible that Paul wrote these familiar words from a prison cell. The “can do all things through Christ” meant that he could be content while imprisoned because he had the promises found in Jesus. His strength came from God.
We may not be in prison like Paul was, but we still need God’s strength daily. I know I need reminders that God’s strength will get me through my struggles. Here are four verses that help us to do just that.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Over and over again, I come to the end of myself. What I mean by this is that I come to a point where all I can give, all I can do, is not enough. I’ll give all I can, only to return burnt out and heartbroken. In these moments, my own strength is ineffective at fixing these situations and quelling the feelings that come with them. The only thing that has worked is crying out to God.
You see, He is enough. Where I fail, He does not. During my junior year of college, my mental health was at an all-time low. I couldn’t do anything. It all felt too overwhelming. I knew I was at the end of myself when I decided to stream a show and I couldn’t even bring myself to type out Netflix. Even that was too much for my chemically imbalanced brain. The only thing I could do was cry out to God to help me. And He gave me strength to reach out. I hadn’t wanted to do so, but He made it clear to me that I needed to and gave me the strength to lift my head and find a counselor. I know it wasn’t some secular idea of strength from within coming from myself, but an answered prayer from God. Take some time today to thank Him for being the source of our strength through all things.
“so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
This is one of my favorite passages in Scripture. I’ve ended many posts, videos, and even a theological paper on Job with it. God has done immeasurably more in my life. The other day, I was scrolling through Facebook when a pastor I know posted an image that said “One day you will tell your story of how you’ve overcome what you’re going through now, and it will become part of someone else’s survival guide.” He captioned it “God will not waste your pain. Trust me.” As we are rooted and grounded in the truth found in God’s Word—that He will never leave us—we can trust that our pain is not for nothing. Christ dwells in our hearts. As the Holy Spirit strengthens our faith, we can keep our eyes on Christ through our pain. This doesn’t mean that the pain is gone; it means we know we are not alone. Through our struggles, we have a Savior who knows what we are feeling because He also struggled in His ministry on earth and on the cross. His perfect love gives us strength. To Him be the glory.
It is through His strength that we share His Word with others. Lean on Jesus to give you the opportunity to tell others what has been done in your life through Christ.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Have you ever felt like you were too far from God to pray to Him? Do your hands shake when you walk up for communion? As a popular Contemporary Christian Music song asks, “Who am I to be loved by You?” Yet the Book of Hebrews says we can have confidence to draw near to the throne. We receive grace and mercy in our times of need through Christ’s love for us.
My college roommate wasn’t Lutheran. When she started attending my college-town Lutheran church with me, she questioned why we celebrated communion weekly. In her denomination, receiving communion was something only done after much introspection and preparation. I turned her to this verse in Hebrews (along with other resources, such as Luther’s Small Catechism). On our own, we have no confidence standing before the throne, but because we are covered in our Baptism in Jesus’ death and resurrection, we can approach the throne of grace with confidence and strength in Him. He meets us where He says He will, and strengthens us in faith for our daily walk with Him.
Each week after receiving the bread and body of Christ, I take a moment back in the pew to bow my head and thank Him that He has given me the strength to approach His throne of grace. Take a moment today, turn on your favorite hymn or worship song, and praise Him for your confidence in Jesus.
May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Our world is heavy. Whether we look at our personal lives and see brokenness in our relationships with others, in our own bodies, and inside our situations, or we look to the world and see brokenness in our definitions of gender, in the ecosystem, or in foreign policy, it’s not hard to see that this world can make us weary. Know today that our God gives us endurance and encouragement through our fellow Christians. We are called to meet together as the Church and bear one another's burdens. We are not alone in this walk.
Reach out to a fellow brother or sister in Christ today and ask them how you can pray for them.
Strength found in Christ is the only strength that will not fail you. He is strong enough to carry your burdens with you as you run the race with endurance (Hebrews 12:1). I pray these verses will help remind you that God’s strength will get you through.