07 May, 2014

A Little Context Please!

I was chatting online with someone earlier this evening who has some wild ambitions and goals, and sincerely, I wish for them the best in their endeavors. However, there was something that came up in our discussion that has been bothering me ever since. This person has listed some goals that, in my opinion, are just a little unrealistic. Yes, theoretically, it could happen, but it is extremely unlikely. I'm not trying to burst anyone's bubble, but at the same time, I do believe in being totally honest. What really bothered me is that this person readily admitted that they do not have the talent or abilities to reach this goal, but they insisted that they were standing on and confessing Philippians 4:13 to achieve this goal. In case you are not familiar, that verse says, "I can do all things, through Christ who strengthens me."  I tried explaining to this person that they were totally taking that verse out of context and that they were setting themselves up for a major disappointment.  The fact of the matter is that I believe most Christians tend to take this verse out of context and try to make it say something which it does not say at all. 
When reading and quoting scripture, it is imperative that we keep things in context. By removing a verse or a portion of scripture from it's context we can change or lose the meaning entirely. This is very true of this verse. If you take that verse as a stand alone statement, then it does in fact state that you and I can do "all things" because Christ is in us. But is that what it really says? 

In context, Paul is speaking specifically about how he has lived in times where he had plenty of money and all things came easy, and he had also lived through times where he was in need and suffered lack. He says that he has learned that he can live through any and all situations by putting his trust in Christ and relying on Christ for his strength. That is a far cry from saying, "I can do anything I want to do because Christ will give me the ability to do it!"  That's just silly. As I'm typing this, I'm listening to the horns blow from the trains coming through town. What do you think would happen if I ran down the street, stood on the tracks and tried to stop that train with my hands? You'd be reading the story in the paper tomorrow, and for sure, the story would not be that I stopped the train. That would just be foolish. And yet, we have many people quoting and misusing this verse of scripture all the time for their foolish actions. Taken out of context, I could claim I was going to jump a building  because Christ is my strength, but that is not going to happen. Could God give such a super manifestation? Certainly. But most likely not. What would be the purpose, other than for some show boat to run around saying, "Look what I can do!"  The truth of this scripture is that God is always with us, and if we rely on Him, he will never let us down. He will help us to get through whatever it is we face... good times or bad. In context... this is what it says.

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