One of the most quoted verses is Philippians 4:13, but so often it is taken out of context or used as a motto to say declaring that you can do anything. Paul was writing this letter while he was in prison. That must be recognized first. I think it is important to read the verse prior to get a better understanding of what verse 13 means.
Paul says that he knows how to live in every situation – whether he has a lot or whether he has a little. It didn’t matter if his stomach was full of food or deprived of food. He knew how to live. He could live in every situation because he could do everything through Christ, because Christ provided the strength he needed.
Don’t ever use Philippians 4:13 as an “I can do everything” card that says you can do whatever you want because God will provide the strength. Paul was serving God—serving while in freedom and serving while in chains. Paul learned to live with whatever God provided and understood that it was enough. Paul’s focus was on Christ. You can do everything through Christ—if He calls you to do it, He will provide for all your needs to accomplish it. You might be living with almost nothing or you might be living with a lot more.
“I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:12-13 [NLT]
After the battle was won, the Israelites asked Gideon to be their ruler. In Judges 8, they had already moved from the position of the Lord bringing the victory to turning away from the Lord. They wanted Gideon to be their ruler. Gideon quickly told them that the Lord was their ruler.
Even though the victory was clearly given by the Lord, they were quick to take their eyes off of Him. They were quick to attribute the victory to Gideon and his leadership. In the same way, we often are quick to attribute our accomplishments to others. We easily agree to support someone’s decisions, advice, and opinions and forget about our true Ruler, our Lord and Savior.
We have bosses. We have politicians. We have a lot of people in leadership positions in different areas of our lives. But there should never be a moment when anyone is put before God. God is first always.
“Then the Israelites said to Gideon, ‘Be our ruler! You and your son and your grandson will be our rulers, for you have rescued us from Midian.’ But Gideon replied, ‘I will not rule over you, nor will my son. The LORD will rule over you! ‘” – Judges 8:22-23 [NLT]