What is your favorite Bible verse?
Though I reserve the right to have a different favorite tomorrow, today my favorite passage is found in Philippians 4:13. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13, NKJV)
Paul penned these words while imprisoned in Rome. Every hour of every day, the aging Apostle was shackled to a Roman guard. His freedoms were a distant memory. His meager survival was made possible only by the benevolent gifts of Christian brothers and sisters. His frail body was obviously weakened by years of abuse. He wasn’t physically strong, but due to his deepening faith, Paul had never been stronger.
Paul believed the words that he had written years earlier. “Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35–39).
Even in the confines of his present circumstances, Paul was “more than a conqueror.” Why? He was strengthened by the Ever-Present Jesus!
Corrie ten Boom recalled sitting in the cold, dark, flee-infested barracks at Ravensbruk, a German concentration camp, reading from the smuggled Bible. There, as a malnourished captive, passages like Philippians 4:13 and Romans 8:35-39 sprung to life for her and her fellow-prisoners. By faith in the Resurrected Redeemer, they could overcome their present circumstances and find joy and peace.
How about you? Are you defined by a diagnosis? A pink slip? A lost loved one? A broken relationship?
Are you alone? Afraid? Alienated? Abused?
Many years ago, I asked my dad that question. What is your favorite Bible verse? He answered without hesitation. “Philippians 4:13” he said. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!” Dad is in heaven today. It is there, in the presence of Christ, that this promise is fully realized and completely fulfilled.
But today, in our broken circumstances, Christ is bigger! Christ is better! His grace is sufficient! His power is perfected in our weakness! (2 Corinthians 12:9). We can rest in His promise. “You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
The Bible doesn’t say that we will become conquerors. It says we ARE conquerors. We can do all this through Christ who gives us the strength.