In your life experiences, good and bad, you have a choice to be content, you have a choice to trust in God and His strength. Many times we feel that we are powerless victims of fate. Our attitude is “I can’t” endure, “I can’t” overcome, “I can’t” make it, but Paul reminds us that in Christ our “I can’t” becomes “I can!” What’s important to see is that this “Can do” spirit is “learned” (v.11), which means to “learn by experience.”
I know in my own experience, there have been times when I tried to handle everything. I let God know that I had it covered. He let me try and I failed of course. But then, I was thinking if I really trusted Him, then why didn’t I just let him have it from the beginning? I think that is my stubbornness and strong will to control my life and all things in it.
I started thinking about this topic and I figure that if God gives me strength to do all things, then I should be able to do all things. I guess that was the control freak in me thinking that. When Paul says all things, does he literally mean all things? Does it mean you can go outside and jump over your house? Of course not. Paul says, “I can do all things in Christ”—that is, in the context of the will of Christ for your life. Whatever Christ has for you to do, He will supply the power. Whatever gift He gives you, He will give the power to exercise that gift. A gift is a manifestation of the Spirit of God in the life of the believer. As long as you function in Christ, you will have power. Paul ism’t saying that I can do all things. I can’t run faster than a speeding bullet or leap tall buildings like Spiderman can. When I was in school I could do long lump and other track and field events, but nothing like Spiderman or how I use to be able to do that. You see, I can’t do all things, but I can do all things which God has for me to do from the time He saved me to the time I no longer breath.”
Philippians 4:10-13– I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (NIV)
Here is a Story about Charlie:
A baby was born to slave parents, and he too was a slave. This little baby never knew anything other than getting up and being in the field before sun up and watching his parents work until sundown. From his earliest remembrance all he could remember is the sound of the whip slicing through the air and into someone’s flesh. Can you imagine what it was like to have someone say they owned you and could do anything they wanted to you. When this little boy was five years of age, Charlie’s, (the boy’s name), mother did something to anger one of the plantation bosses. No one knew what it was. A man took a whip and began to administer a cruel beating to his mother. Charlie went and held his mother’s head in his lap and within the hour his mother died. I wonder how you would feel if someone whipped your mother to death in your presence and then you held her head while she left this life? The next morning the plantation master was so mad that she died that he took Charlie’s father and sold him to another plantation. The boy never saw his father again. You are five years old and your mother is beaten to death and your father is sold never to cross your path again.
This plantation forbid the education of the slaves and forbid them from going to church. Up until age 15 all he did was work seven days a week and he could not read a single word and he had never been to church. His back was carved with scars from the bottom of his heals to the top of his head. The back of his head was so beaten that hair would never grow. At age 15 he is freed by the War Between the States and now he still works in the fields, but at night he is free. They said to Charlie, “What do you want to do the first night of your freedom?” Charlie said, “I want to go to church for the first time in my life.” He walked 12 miles to church and he heard for the first time that there was someone who loved him. Charlie said, that cannot be right, I am a former orphan slave . . . nobody loves me. The preacher told him he was wrong, God loved him so much that he sent his son to die for him. Charlie trusts Christ as his Savior and Lord. They gave him a Bible and Charlie said I cannot read. The ladies in this church taught him to read the Word of God.
Charlie was in church one day, and he announced that God had called him to preach. The church said what? That cannot be. Charlie said, “He did.” One of the men said, “Charlie, you have forgotten you are nothing.” Tears begin to flow down his checks and he said, “You are right, you know I am nothing and I know I am nothing and God knows I am nothing. But if the one who is everything wants to use the one who is nothing, that is His business.” He said, “Pray for me, I want to preach the Word of God.” They said, “You will fail.” He said, “If it is up to me you are right, but if God is in this, He will make it happen.”
He went over 250 miles to Cape Main, New Jersey. There Charlie announced he would be preaching. No one came, so he stood up and preached to himself. Had his second service and third same thing. Always preached an hour. They said, “Why do you preach an hour?” and he said, “Because I need the preaching.” He kept preaching to himself. Word got out that there was a nut preaching to himself. People started coming to hear this guy who had that much commitment. His messages were always the same, “He is everything and I am nothing”. And you will be amazed at the One who is everything. What He can do if someone will just admit they are nothing. People started getting saved and coming to church. The church went to 100, built a building, tore it down and built another. Pretty soon, the largest church in the state of New Jersey was pastored by Charlie.
Charlie then stood up and said, “God is calling me to Philadelphia.” Philadelphia was the second largest city at the time and the intellectual center. They said, ”You can’t go there.” Same story. No one came for several services. Same message. Folks started coming. One year running twenty, two years running a hundred. Ten years after he arrived they built a building that would seat 600 and it was full every service. 15 years later they had an auditorium that seated 3000 and they filled it 6 times every Sunday. And the largest church on the Eastern Seaboard was pastored by Charlie.
The man’s name was Charles Kindley. He wrote many songs. “How do you make sense out of losing your parents” and he wrote the Song, “We Will Understand it Better By and By”. They came to him and said, “What do you do with your burdens?”, “Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.” At the end of his life they said, “What is the secret of all God did in your life.” He said it is simple, “He’s everything, I’m still nothing. And all I got to be sure is, There is nothing between my soul and the Savior”, (he wrote this song).