“Who do you say I am?
;;Matthew 16: 15
The key to living and experiencing an abundant life (John 10:10) is to “fix your thoughts on Jesus” (Hebrews 3:1). Our Heavenly Father tells us through His Word, the Bible, that we “….can do everything through him (Jesus) who gives you strength” (Philippians 4:13) (explanation mine). Now the key issue is to think through critically what the word “everything” means and not just from the context of work, career, vocation, or family. Does “everything” mean “some things” or the “majority of things” or “almost all things”???? Does God’s Word provide a modifier at all to the word “everything”? I think not, which makes this Bible verse one of those simple treasures to be found and claimed in the Word of God.
So what implications are there to this word “everything”? First and foremost is the question, “Do you know Jesus”? Do you truly know Jesus as Savior and Lord? Do you know Jesus who is the strength for “everything” that comes into your life? If you know him in this manner, the Apostle John tells us in John 10:4 that you will “follow him because [you] know his voice”. Jesus himself tells us in John 18:37 that, “Everyone on the side of truth listens to me”. So then, do you know Jesus? Are you in tune with his voice? Are you listening to him? If so, then consider the following two perspectives.
First, should the Christian who truly knows Jesus ever be described by others as one who walks primarily through life as a moody, ill-tempered, peevish, sour, testy, sullen, uncertain, shaky, aloof, cold, distant, uncommunicative or unsociable individual? Barring some significant medical or health issue, is it possible that an individual with these seemingly constant characteristics is focused more on self than on Christ? Is this individual relying more on self to prosper and to be successful in the everyday world, only to be constantly in defeat because of the inadequacy of self? Has the truth of “I can do everything through [Jesus] who gives you strength” been lost through lack of faith? Do you know Jesus? If you have settled in your heart and mind the “everything through Jesus” of Philippians 4:13, then your countenance can be, should be, one of “boldness” (Hebrews 4:16), “radiance” (Psalm 34:5), and your life should be described by others as a “conqueror” (Romans 8:35-39).
Second, should the Christian who truly knows Jesus, believing confidently in His Word, ever be described by others as one who walks primarily through life as an arrogant, overconfident, insolent, brash, presumptuous, obnoxious, disdainful, haughty, prideful, scornful, or audacious individual? Is it possible that an individual with these seemingly constant characteristics has subtly exalted “self” over Jesus Christ? Has the truth of “I can do everything through [Jesus] who gives you strength” been lost through confidence in self-sufficiency and self-reliance? Consider this. In the Word of God, in II Chronicles 26, it states in verses 4-5 of that chapter that King Uzziah “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord” and “As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success”. Who gave King Uzziah success? God gave success. It is all of God. But look at verse 16 in that same chapter 26 where it states “But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God….” So the question must be asked again. Do you know Jesus? If you have settled in your heart and mind the “everything through Jesus” of Philippians 4:13, then your countenance can be, should be, one of “humility”. In I Peter 5:5-6, the Word of God tells us to “Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time”.
So, dearly beloved friend, where are you in your relationship to Jesus? Do you really know Him? Is the abundant life Jesus promised truly yours? Can you do everything through Jesus who is your strength? Are your thoughts fixed upon the Lord Jesus Christ? Oswald Chambers in his devotional book “My Utmost for His Highest” asks the key question: Is your life exhibiting the essence of the sweetness of the Son of God or just the basic irritation of “self” that you have apart from Christ?” (see May 14th devotional).
I trust you will carefully think through these matters. Oswald Chambers also writes, “If the Spirit of God has transformed you within, you will exhibit divine characteristics in your life, not just good human characteristics. God’s life in us expresses itself as God’s life, not as human life trying to be godly”. Think about it.