I have come to believe that Philippians 4:13 (I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me) is the most misused, abused and misunderstood verse in the Bible. It has NOTHING to do with making yourself a super-human under the guise of God.
For the past several weeks, I have been reading along with hundreds of thousands of other people through the book of Leviticus through a smartphone app called First 5. Many people may stop there and say, ‘who in the world could find joy in Leviticus’ or find any life lessons to guide us through our time here on earth? But taking a deeper look into it, with all of its guidelines and rules and lining it up with what I just mentioned about Phil 4:13 is absolutely beautiful.
You see all those guidelines are part of how God desperately wants us to engage in with Him. He puts rules into place for our greater protection. He desires order. He desires discipline. And that is why so many Christ followers love and potentially misuse Phil 4:13. They use it as a scapegoat, an excuse, a crutch. (By the way, you can read about the origin of “scapegoat” in Leviticus as well!)
Denis Waitley, an author and coach says it this way: “A sign of wisdom and maturity is when you come to terms with the realization that your decisions cause rewards and consequences. You are responsible for your life, and your ultimate success depends on the CHOICES you make.” And friends, that means the choices we make about whether or not we want to engage into the guidelines that God set in place for us.
All of this may sound boring because it isn’t as touchy feely as messages on grace and mercy, but the fact remains that you can’t have one (grace) without the other (law). Everyday personal standards like honoring your word, paying bills on time, being responsible for what God has given you and representing Christ well to others in your circle of influence all come back to this.
These are just a few of the things we can do to walk in obedience in this life. God rewards those who desire to honor Him with their life NOT just use His mercy as an excuse to live the way they want.
Believe it or not, the law equals love.
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