Resolutions: Can I Do All Things?

Welcome 2024! Resolutions: Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.You can’t do all things through Christ.

You read that right.

You cannot do all things through Christ.

Did you resolve to establish new habits, lose weight, or get a new job in the New Year?

Is your motivation I can do all things through Him who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13)?

Good news! You can still work toward those goals.

Bad news! This verse is not a personal empowerment slogan.

But, you say, it’s in the Bible!

Yes… but Paul, in writing from prison to the believers in Philippi, in no way intends to boost spiritual self-confidence and apply it to any ambition.

In fact, it is quite the opposite within the context of Paul’s prison letter.

I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13 NRSV

By all things, Paul means contentment in any circumstance. His secret sauce is depending on Christ to provide the strength to persevere.

All things does not include your resolutions, dreams, or goals. Being in Christ does not ensure a new job or smaller pant size. The verse is meaningless for pursuing self-interests.

Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment: for me brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. 1 Timothy 6:6-8On the other hand, biblical contentment does not mean caving to one’s lot in life in defeat saying: “It is what it is!” No! If we’re willing, God will expand His kingdom through us and will empower us to accomplish the task. We can participate in bringing God’s love to the world no matter our circumstances.

Contentment is a crucial attitude.

Let’s dig deeper to discover two more fun facts:

1) The Philippians recognized the word contentment as the goal of Stoicism, a popular philosophy. Followers sought serenity by living self-sufficiently above need and abundance, depending only on themselves. Ideally, circumstances don’t cause any anxiety or stress.

So Paul’s surprising counter-cultural twist jolts the Philippians. His secret to contentment is Christ-sufficiency. Radical dependence on Christ is the basis and source of Paul’s life: “for me, to live is Christ (Philippians 1:21).”

2) For smooth reading, our English translations use the phrase “through Him”, I can do all things through Him, and footnote that the original text says ‘in Him’ or ‘in Christ’ which Paul uses frequently.

The problem is that “through Him” implies that when empowered by Christ, we’re capable of anything. This isn’t at all what Paul means.

Rather, Paul shares that when we’re closely connected to Christ, when Christ is in us, our circumstances don’t determine our attitude.

The joy, strength, and guidance we receive from our union with Christ are sufficient to do His will and to face the challenges that arise from our commitment to serve Him.

Blesses are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied. Matthew 5:6There’s still time to review your New Year’s resolutions:

• Consider those related to personal achievements or ambitions
• Reframe them to align with spiritual growth
• Prioritize resolutions that focus on your connection with Christ rather than self-centric goals

Consider these New Year’s resolutions and helpful resources:

• Strengthen my relationship with God – Read about my journey to a relationship with God 
• Intertwine my life with God’s – Discover what it means to be intertwined from the prophet Simeon
• Trust God more deeply – Learn how to increase your trust in God
• Serve in ways that reflect Jesus’ values – Answering His call yields remarkable joy


Gordon D. Fee, Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1995).

Nathan Busenitz, The Master’s Seminary Blog,

#seedsofscripture #6minutescripturestudy #readthebiblebetter #biblestudy  #philippians413 #philippians4v13 #newyearresolutions #newyearresolutions2024 #icandoallthingsthroughchrist #icandoallthingsthroughchristwhostrengthensme #icandoallthingsthruchrist


  1. Becky on January 4, 2024 at 10:08 AM

    My mother chose this passage and message for her funeral. Contentment was the greatest lesson she taught me. A true gift from her. Thank you for this today, it hit home.

    • CathyChung on January 6, 2024 at 9:06 PM

      Becky, It is so good to hear from you! I hope it hit home in a good way, a good reminder of the legacy your mother left in you. “Make the most of your situation” my mother would say.

  2. J.D. Wininger on January 6, 2024 at 1:37 PM

    I struggled a bit as I read this Ms. Cathy. I agree, it’s not a slogan for personal motivation, but in a way it is. I chose this verse many years ago while in the Army’s Ranger school. Did God want me to be a Ranger? Probably not. I don’t think God intended man to be a better fighter, more skillful hunter, or killer of men. I do know that His desire for each of His children is to be the very best they can be. Being a Ranger taught me much more than how to be a more effective solider. It taught me how to handle and overcome adversity, how to lead a team, and how to show compassion and empathy without allow emotion to control my actions. By being the very best that we can be, in everything we do that is worthy of His calling in our lives, we honor Him. Whatever I do, I do unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23-24, paraphrased). If I seek to honor Him with everything that I do, then I can rely on His promise in Philippians 4:13 to help me see my way through it. If I endeavor to stop some sinful behavior because it is not God-honoring, I may fail many times. Calling on that verse gives me the impetus to try again, seeking His help because I’ve proven I can’t break this habit on my own. Hope that makes sense my friend. Good food for thought to start the new year upon. God’s blessings ma’am.

    • CathyChung on January 6, 2024 at 9:13 PM

      J.D., I’m so glad you shared honestly about this post. I welcome your perspective. I’m realizing I could broaden the scope of the verse. Paul wrote it in reference to being content with his ups and downs. We can certainly remember to lean into Christ for strength to handle whatever He puts in our path. I was trying to deter people from applying it to their own aspirations. I suppose if God doesn’t approve of the aspiration he’ll close doors. I’m just saying this isn’t a magic wand to make dreams come true. Paul was saying he would lean in to Christ in whatever situation God put him.
      Thank you for engaging J.D. It is important for me to hear how my writing lands from others’ perspectives.

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