I woke and thought of Philippians, remembering the time I’d been promoted to read the Book and consider what may be for me to glean. So, before I got out of bed it was already on the agenda, forgo the usual devotional routine and read that Book already marked with red pencil underline and margin notes in so many places.
I prayed, “God help me to see what it is you have for me today.“
As intentional as possible, I read through the four chapters. I was open to something new, timely and enlightening. Paul is writing and preparing Timothy. He’s reminding those who will continue his teaching to include the women who’ve supported him. For a moment I thought this was my “new thing”, my reason for reading today, that we women have a place in this story, this story of living a life that brings light.
Then I read the words we all love to hold onto as motivational pep talks, the promise that we can do all things with the help of the Lord. I happened again upon this verse as I followed along and I was changed by those that preceded.
I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 ESV
Before Paul left us with this “memory verse” most of us know and might have relied upon, he thanks his supporters for their concern and he remembers his time of being at his lowest. He tells us he knows the “secret” to contentment…it’s Jesus and being sure, absolutely sure that through Him we can get through all things, do all things because of His strength.
We all have something that’s become stronger than our faith, maybe gotten ahold of us and become bigger than our God…making us weak in the knees and sick in our souls. Whatever it might be, remember where your strength lies. It is He who makes us strong to defeat worry, bad behavior, anxiety or something inconsistent with what you know is God’s will for you. Be not downhearted by lack of progress or detours caused by backslidden behaviors. Don’t depend on that limited strength to begin again; rather, depend on the strength Paul knew, the strength of the one who redeems us from self-reliance and sinful ways.
Enlightened by the testimonies of those before us, we never have to make it on our own.