Jesus IS my strength

14 06 2015

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Most of us have recited the popular Bible verse of Philippians 4:13 when in a time of physical or emotional need. We are taught that we can count on Christ to provide us the needed help to get us through the crisis. Jesus is viewed as our “go to guy” for whatever we need.
Recently my wife Shirley showed me the graphic on the left that clearly points out a very different interpretation for this verse. It shows us the contrast between the common perspective of our relationship with Christ and that of the Truth. That truth is that Jesus is not just a provider for our needs, He IS the provision. He doesn’t just give us what we need; He gives us Himself, the total Life provision. (John 14:6)
Why has this not been clearly understood or so overlooked? One of the reasons is that modern Christianity has for so long focused only on what God has done for us. We hear that God has lovingly saved us and now we are to patiently wait for Him to complete His plan and take us to heaven. If we need anything in the meantime we are taught to ask or trust Him for whatever else it is that we need.
But that is only one part of God’s desire. The complete “gospel” truth is that we are not just saved and get to go to heaven but that heaven has come to live in us! Jesus said, “I have come that you may have life” (John 10:10). He didn’t mean someday, but now. The long overlooked truth of Christianity is that Christ is not just our savior but also our indwelling Lord. The religionist view is that man can ask God to help him, but the Truth is that man is helpless without God living in him (John 15:5). Man doesn’t just get help from God, but rather, God fills man with Himself. Jesus said it plainly when He told His disciples that He was “with” them but soon would be “in” them (John 14:17).
Paul penned these words to the Philippians (4:13) because he had learned this truth as well. He declared that he had learned the “secret of living in every situation” because Christ was his strength. Note that most translations give the impression that Christ had “given” him the strength. But the original Greek is literally, “All things I can do in the one empowering me”. As Vincent describes in his Word Studies of The New Testament, “Paul was self-sufficient through the power of the new self, not he, but Christ in Him” (p.893). I personally like the Message Bible translation, “Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.” Paul made it clear in many other places that he was not living by his own life but by the life of Christ living in Him (Gal.2:20).
My prayer is that you and I will also learn this truth. It is what we seek to do through the ministry of NW Men’s Coalition. Our hope is that men (everyone) will come to know that Christ is not just our savior, provider, helper or whatever else we need but that He IS our salvation, provision, and whatever else we need. We don’t just add Him to our lives but that He is our life.

May you experience Him – in you – today.
Dennis


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