As a kid, one of my favorite verses to write inside my baseball hat before the season was Philippians 4:13. There was something about this verse that resonated with me and would certainly come in handy anytime I was pitching and the bases were loaded. Unbeknownst to “Baseball Bryce,” Paul did not write these words with my baseball dilemma in mind.
To understand the full meaning behind this popular passage, we have to understand why Paul wrote it in the first place. Paul writes this letter to the church of Philippi from prison. Knowing this this adds an important layer to our understanding of the tone and sincerity that Paul writes with. Paul is writing as individual who does not know what is next and likely believes that death is in the near future.
Paul writes Philippians believing that it could be the last words that he gives to this community that he that he cares so deeply about. And with that in mind, Paul writes about how they should live and to look for the examples that God has given them. When he begins Philippians 4, Paul is driving home the major theme of this book: trust in God alone and you will find hope in whatever circumstance you find yourself in. In the verse before Philippians 4:13, Paul discusses his contentment and his belief that God will provide. It’s from there that he writes the words, “I can do all things through him who gives me strength.”
There are a lot of powerful verses found within Philippians. But the intent of this book is to remind Paul’s audience, and us as well, that God will deliver us and provide the strength we need to make it through difficult seasons. And as followers of Jesus, we look for his example and attempt to mirror that in our lives.