The Secret in Every Circumstance


Don’t be fooled by the popular locker room read on Philippians 4:13.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” — score a touchdown, hit a homerun, climb a mountain, run a marathon, win the game with a finger to the sky for the Lord. Maybe some well-meaning jock signed his name with “Phil. 4:13” in your high-school yearbook, as a little nod to Jesus, who gifted him with such athletic prowess.

Now, the “all things” of Philippians 4:13 certainly does include our successes and the various positive things in life, but the edge on this often-quoted verse is that “all things” also means life’s hardest things: like humiliation, hunger, need, and loss.

Put the “All Things” in Context

Philippians 4:13 means more than giving a hat tip to heaven when life’s going as well as it can. It’s mainly about where to go — to whom do we go — when we’re most devastated, most in pain, most at a loss, in our lowest of lows.

It’s in this context that the apostle Paul claims, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content” (Philippians 4:11) — and says it again, “In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.” There is a secret for contentment not just in our greatest triumphs, but also in our deepest devastations.

What is “the secret”? Philippians 4:13 calls it “Christ who strengthens me.” Or, to put it in terms of Philippians 3:8, “the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”

In this 3-minute video, John Piper continues his series, in partnership with YouVersion, through the Bible’s ten most-highlighted passages, and explains that only when Christ is our central treasure do we truly have the wherewithal for life’s greatest wins and losses.