Doing All Things vs. Doing What Must Be Done…
By Gary Piper of Fort Gratiot, MI, USA
I can do all things through him who strengthens me. —Philippians 4:13 NRSV
Here’s how I think sometimes: If “I can do all things,” that means I can (with a bad heart, bad lungs, and bad hips) step out on a football field as a running back. Reality sets in, however, and says, “Sure you can do that but you’ll probably be injured in the process.”
Now notice how the ERV Bible translates the scripture: “Christ is the one who gives me the strength I need to do whatever I must do” (Philippians 4:13 ERV). Jesus gives me the strength “to do whatever I must do,” and I must not play football in my condition because doing so would be detrimental to my well-being. One version could suggest doing things my way; the other suggests thinking—then using common sense.
The Apostle Paul, writing to the Ephesians, explains how we can do whatever we must do. “Christ’s love is greater than anyone can ever know, but I pray that you will be able to know that love. Then you can be filled with everything God has for you. With God’s power working in us, he can do much, much more than anything we can ask or think of” (Ephesians 3:19–20 ERV, emphasis added).
I am sure every one of us has dealt with something for which we needed strength beyond our own. Remember the age-old saying, “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again”? Try this version: “If at first you don’t succeed, get with God and get it done.”
“Pray in the Spirit at all times. Pray with all kinds of prayers, and ask for everything you need. To do this you must always be ready. Never give up. Shake it off and step up. Always pray for all of God’s people” (Ephesians 6:18 ERV, italicized words added).
“God, show mercy to us and bless us. Please accept us!” (Psalm 67:1 ERV).
God is with us.
Invitation to Spiritual Practice
Ordinary time is a season for awakening to God’s presence in all the details and circumstances of our everyday, ordinary lives. Wherever you are, pay attention to your surroundings. Allow yourself to be fully present for a time with whatever is before you. Where do you sense God with you right now exactly where you are?
How does today’s story invite you to discover God in the realities of your everyday life?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.