We Christians are very familiar with Philippians 4:13, where the apostle Paul says:
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
But how many of us have ever considered the context for this classic verse?
The fact is that Paul was in prison when he penned the words. Admittedly, there is some debate as to exactly where he was in prison. Most scholars believe that he wrote Philippians during his imprisonment in Rome, but others contend that he wrote it during an imprisonment in Caesarea. A few others even go with the idea of an Ephesus imprisonment. But let’s not get bogged down in that whole debate. The point is that it was a prisoner who confidently affirmed that he could do anything and everything through Christ.
So, could Paul have escaped his prison through Christ? Certainly, if that had been God’s will and plan. Acts 5:17-25 tells us that an angel once opened a set of prison doors in Jerusalem and let the apostles go free. Along the same lines, Acts 12:5-19 describes another occasion when an angel led Peter out of another Jerusalem cell. These two passages prove that Paul could have experienced the same kind of escape if God had wanted it to happen. But here’s something to think about: Can we not say that it took more of the strength of Christ for Paul to remain in his prison than it would have taken for him to get busted out by an angel? You see, that’s a whole different level of strength on display there.
Now, I don’t know where this post finds you today, but I know enough about life to figure that somebody out there is right now sitting in some kind of “prison” (if not a literal one, a metaphorical one). And if that’s you, I just want to encourage you that you really can do all things through Christ, even endure life inside that “prison.” So I ask you, Do you know Him as your personal Savior? If you don’t, then I plead with you to place your belief in Him right now. That will bring you not only salvation (forgiveness of all your sins and the promise of heaven) but also the strength you so desperately need for your circumstance. That strength will come via God the Holy Spirit, who will come to literally dwell inside you the moment you truly believe in Christ. And, of course, if you already know Him as Savior, you shouldn’t hesitate to ask Him to strengthen you for whatever you are facing today. Never forget that Philippians 4:13 doesn’t just apply to mountaintops, it also applies to valleys. It’s not just for penthouses; it’s also for prisons.