In our staff meeting this morning, we wrapped up our study of Phillipians by looking at the last chunk of Chapter 4. Phillipians 4:13 is a famous verse: ‘I can do all things through him who strengthens me’. It’s commonly used amongst sportsmen and women, and it’s one of my favourite as a cyclist, not least because Pinarello named one of their bikes after the passage a few years ago. It got me thinking about one of the most maddening things about cycling; you can go out one day and apply a given amount of effort, and ride powerfully. A few days later, same route, same effort, same conditions, and the power seems to have evaporated. Why? The strength doesn’t always seem to be there.
Isn’t it the same in the Christian life? As partners in the gospel with the Creator of the Universe (it’s like being asked by Steve Jobs if we could help him with creating the next iPhone, only better) we know that we are to put effort into His work, but that it is only His power that gives us strength and gets results. It’s helpful to think about it that way, and avoid (1) the lazy trap of thinking that we need put no effort into God’s work, or (2) the megalomaniac trap of thinking that it’s our power that achieves things.
Soli Deo Gloria!