5th June 2018

There Are Things I Can’t Do 

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

It might surprise you to know, but I can’t do everything. It should be obvious really if you think about it: As a man I can’t give birth; as a human being I can’t flap my arms and fly; and as for swimming the English Channel or running the 4 minute mile, forget it. There are a whole host of other things I can’t do, which if I were to list them would take up the rest of this article, and if you were honest with yourself you could probably do the same.

It’s important for us to be able to identify our gifts, to recognise what we are good at and to pursue what we can do; but equally we need to be aware of our limitations and realise that there are things we can’t do.

The question that comes to mind is: ‘How does that fit with what Paul writes in Philippians 4:13? Here he tells us that indeed he ‘can do all things through Christ who strengthens [him].’ Does this mean we can sing a solo if we can’t hold a note? Or play the piano if we are tone deaf? Or preach a sermon if we can’t string two words together, simply because of Paul’s statement? It’s so easy to lift a verse out of context and this one is a prime example. I’ve heard so many people say that they are going to do something for which they have no talent or gifting simply because of what Paul says here.

What is he actually saying in context? In the previous verses, Paul talks about being content, and I would suggest that one of the ways we can be content is to recognise what we can and can’t do; accepting our limitations graciously. That’s not to say we can’t develop skills, or that God can’t specially equip us; but it’s being relaxed about those things we can’t do. How can we be content about this? Through Christ who strengthens us! As the New International Version renders this verse: ‘I can do all this [including being content] through him who gives me strength.’ 

Let’s ask God to help us to see what we can do, what we can’t do and to be content with what he shows us.

Father, please show me where I am gifted and where I am not. Help me to be content with what you reveal through Christ Jesus who strengthens me.

Study by Barry Robinson


About the Author:
Barry Robinson is an Elder and pastoral worker in the Greater London area, particularly the Camberwell and North London congregations of the Grace Communion International.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion International Camberwell
The Salvation Army Hall
105 Lomond Grove

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11 am

Local Congregational Contact:
Barry Robinson
Email: camberwell@gracecom.church

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