16, April, 2020Posted by :Zach Ellsworth
When I was a little boy, I loved baseball. My brother and I, with help from our friends, played so much baseball in our backyard that we wore dirt patches into the grass where bases should’ve been. Like most other little boys who love baseball, I‘d imagine myself stepping up to bat with the big game on the line. Then, I’d toss the ball up to myself and *thump*, I’d get the game winning hit (no matter where the ball went).
I also remember a poster of a baseball player making a diving catch that was around during my childhood (it might have been in my science teacher’s classroom at school or in my house—or both!). Wearing a red hat and sunglasses, this anonymous player was diving on his belly in the bright green grass, stretching out his dark brown glove to catch the ball falling in front of him. Beside this player there was a verse. Can you guess what it was?
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
If this isn’t the single most popular Bible verse among Christian athletes, I don’t know what is. With the game on the line, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” sounds like a wonderful promise. I can make the game winning shot, hit, catch, pass, run, etc. Or maybe now it’s: I can nail this interview, this presentation, this sale, this project instead.
But the hope this verse points out is better suited to a game-losing strikeout than a game-winning homerun. Doing “all things” in Christ’s strength isn’t a guarantee that you will never fail (as we have all surely learned time and time again). Instead, it’s a guarantee that in all situations you will be given Christ’s strength.
Philippians was written by the Apostle Paul from a jail cell. By most standards, he wasn’t exactly living his “best life”. But he had learned in whatever situation to be content. He knew how to be brought low and how to abound. In any and every circumstance, he learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. He could do all things through Christ who gave him strength (Phil. 4:11–13).
Everyone is facing their own challenge. This is always true, but recent events have only served to amplify it. However, no matter your circumstances, there is enough strength in Jesus Christ to sustain you through it. Whether you are crazy busy or crazy bored, Christ’s strength can carry you. Whether you are lonely or getting a little too comfortable with the isolation, Christ’s strength can carry you. Whether you are mourning the loss of activities and events or quietly celebrating the sudden rest in your calendar, Christ’s strength can carry you. You can find contentment in all circumstances if your eyes are fixed on Christ.
When we look to Jesus we see God’s love for us. We see the salvation that has been accomplished. We see the resurrection that will one day be ours. Our securities and benefits are not found here on earth, but in heaven where Christ is. Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself (Phil. 3:20–21).
There is a hope and peace that is ours in Christ. A joy in the presence of God that can’t be taken (Ps. 16:11). And so I am learning how to be content in any and all circumstances. I can stay at home through him who strengthens me.