“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
He gave his autograph with the inscription: Philippians 4:13. Then a number of his admirers began to wonder what that meant. Could it be an identification number of some sort? Could it be some secret code? To Evander Hollyfield, this was an expression of conviction transformed into victory.
Hollyfield entered the ring with a doctor’s report of a bad heart condition. He entered the ring as an underdog, having lost his last major boxing bout. But he emerged the world heavyweight-boxing champion, defeating the seemingly invincible Mike Tyson.
That same year, I watched the seven-a-side rugby championship and I was amazed to find on the jersey of the winning team (The Fijians) Philippians 4:13.
Now, we are talking about a verse in the New Testament contained in the letter of Paul to the Philippian church. In an earlier verse, Paul had written: “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound” (v.12). Here Apostle Paul was telling us that regardless of the circumstance, he had learnt how to break down the limitations and win. In a way, he was encouraging us not to allow limitations to limit us.
Paul did not stop there. He continued, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” He clearly identified his own source of strength. He knew that on his own he had no strength to properly master the situation and excel. So he turned his attention to the enabler, the one who created him and gave him the assignment to win. Then he won!
We are looking at what makes a champion. Paul said I can, but today many people say I can’t. And the difference between the winner and the loser is just the apostrophe and the t. The winner is saying I can, while the loser is saying I can’t.
John Mason said, “It is a fact that most people could do more than they think they can. You never know what you cannot do until you try. So never use the word NEVER.” He said further that the answer to your future lies outside the confines that you have right now and that to believe an idea is impossible is to make it so. In his words, “You consider how many fantastic projects you have miscarried because of small thinking; or have been strangled in their birth by a cowardly imagination.” As the Bible says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7).
Charles Swab said, “When a man has put a limit to what he will do, he has put a limit on what he can do.”
It was said that at one point during World War 2 General Carrington Abraham and his command were totally surrounded. The enemy was north, east, south and west. This was how he reacted to the news: “Gentlemen, for the first time in the history of this campaign we are now in the position to attack the enemy in any direction.” General Abraham not only had the desire to lead, but he also had the desire to win.
The problem is not the situation, but the way we react to it. Such was the story found in first Samuel chapter 17. An army that had prepared for war could not fight because no one was bold enough to lead the required assault. The commander of the enemy camp was ready to overrun the camp of the children of Israel until the miracle ‘I CAN’ spirit filled the camp. Through whom, you may ask? Through a young boy! As a matter of fact, it was from the lips of a teenager by the name of David. One “I CAN” statement changed the mood of the camp, and tilted the war in favour of the camp and entire Israel. David defeated Goliath whereas the rest of the soldiers saw the task initially as impossible. David just could not imagine that as big as Goliath was, anyone would miss the target from a shot on a sling. Then he won the encounter!
It is not really your circumstance that is the problem. The problem is your attitude! Your destiny is in your own hand. You can do it through Christ who strengthens you.
Zig Ziglar wrote of Henry Ford as a most unusual man. He was not a financial success until he was above 40 years old. With very little education, after he built his empire, he conceived the idea of the V8 engine. Calling his engineers together, he said, ‘Gentlemen, I want you to build a V8 engine.’ These brilliantly educated men knew the principles of mathematics, physics and engineering. They knew what could and could not be done. They looked at Ford with a condescending attitude of let’s humour the old man because, after all, he is the boss. They very patiently explained to him that the V8 engine was economically unfeasible, and they even explained why it could not be built economically. Ford was not listening, however, and simply said, ‘Gentlemen, I must have a V8 engine, build me one!’
They half-heartedly worked for a period of time and reported back to him: ‘We are more convinced than ever that a V8 engine is an engineering impossibility.’ Mr Ford, however, was not easily persuaded. ‘Gentlemen,’ he insisted, ‘I must have a V8 engine, so let’s go full speed ahead.’ Again they went out, and this time they worked a little harder, spent a little more time, and a lot more money. They came back with the same report: ‘Mr. Ford, the V8 engine is an absolute impossibility.’ The word impossible was not included in the vocabulary of the man who had already revolutionized the automobile industry with the assembly line production, $5.00 a day wages, the Model “T” and the Model “A”. With fire in his eyes Henry Ford said, ‘Gentlemen, you don’t understand, I must have a V8 engine and you’re going to build it for me, now go do it.’ Guess what! They built the V8 engine. They did it because one man was intelligently ignorant enough not to know that something could not be done; so he did it!
We see this every day, do we not? One says he can’t and doesn’t while the other says he can and does! The truth is, somebody is always doing what the other says could not be done. Dare to think unthinkable thoughts. Develop an infinite capacity to ignore what others think cannot be done. Do not just grow where you are planted – blossom and bear fruit!
The apostle Paul was in terrible situations a lot of times in his life (2Cor.11: 23-28). Once he was involved in a shipwreck, but he broke through the limits and excelled. At another time he was stared in the face by the perils of robbers. Then he was stoned and almost killed, yet he broke through the barriers. You see, the circumstance does not have enough power to limit you. You cannot be limited without your consent.
One reason we fail is that we walk alone. If we walk in the strength of the Lord, we will never fail. No one can predict the height to which you can soar. Not even you can fully comprehend it until you spread your wings. Why not spread your wings today? God will take you higher, far beyond your wildest dreams, if only you will let Him.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I have the ability to overcome all odds; no mountain is high enough to stop me. God takes me to great heights as I spread my wings to soar. In Jesus’ name. Amen.