The Daily Bread reports: The Hope College Women’s basketball team had made it to the national playoffs. The final game saw Hope 20 points behind with 10 minutes left to play. The team remained 22 all thingscalm and began to narrow the gap. Then with just 5 seconds remaining, a 3 point basket tied the game. The final score was decided by Dina Disney. With no time left on the clock, she sank two free throws to win the game. When television and press interviewers asked her how she stayed calm under so much pressure, Dina said she recited to herself, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

As John Butler observes in his commentary on the book of Philippians, “Seldom, if ever, is this text quoted in its context. Paul is not speaking of ability to do just anything. He is specifically speaking here of having the ability to adjust to any income or material situation. This is where the text needs more application than in any other area.” I wouldn’t limit this text to just material situations, but rather to being in want or having abundance. It could be in other areas than just finances. The general words used could mean something like “I can be content when I’m healthy and I can be content when I’m sick.” It might mean “I can be content when I’m at work at hard labor and I can be content when I’m at leisure.” The point is that Paul has learned the secret of being content in every and all circumstances in life.

Anthony Ash also comments on the context of Philippians 4:13 in his commentary. He says, “This verse is often misapplied, though with good intentions. Paul’s statement must be understood in context.” He explains that the phrase “all things” “is not a universal statement, suggesting that anything in all of life can be done by God’s power. Of course that power is without limit, but there are things God did not and does not intend to do, such as removing Paul’s thorn in the flesh. We must see that Paul spoke here of the secret of contentment.” I’m glad the Hope College Women’s basketball team came back for the win and that Dina made the winning basket but would she have the same thought if she had lost? Paul says, “I can be content when win, and I can be content when I lose.” Paul learned that God’s grace was sufficient for him even with a thorn in the flesh or while in prison. It’s not my circumstances that determine my contentment. Gary Weedman concludes, “The source of joy and contentment is Jesus Christ, and not in what mankind can or cannot do for him.”