Previously posted on July 21, 2015, at homescool.ph
We often read and hear this famous verse uttered by St. Paul in Philippians 4:13, ” I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me,” quoted by many homeschooling parents. Okay, we are all familiar with the “ALL things”. We just need to see our “must do”, “wish I could do” and “wish I could be” lists, the piles of clutter to fix, chores undone, people to meet, books to read, tests to check, moments to bond, dates to do, and errands waiting. Those are the superficial must do stuff but there are deeper concerns: recurrent problems, character issues, unanswered prayers, all sort of tunnels in our lives that seem to have no light in the end.
How about you, what are you “all things” in life? But let us move on to the rest of the words of this verse, “ In Christ who strengthens me.” What does that really mean? What does it mean to be “In Christ”? How do you know that you’re not doing it all on your own will, strength and effort? How does Christ strengthen His own? How did St. Paul do it?
Paul said these words shortly after explaining the various situationsÂ he had experienced in the past. There were seasons of plenty and comfort. There were seasons of great need and despair. However, Paul made it clear that he was not focused on what he had or did not have. Â He made it clear that he had learned the secret of being content. And that secret I believe is revealed in the next verse. The secret lies In Christ.
Oh, we can truly apply this to our homeschool lives and the various challenges we encounter! Whether it be financial, physical, emotional and social needs, our journey will take us to different scenarios that will test our “contentment.” Truly there is nothing wrong in desiring for better conditions in the many areas of our lives, our homeschooling lives. But the desire itself should not cripple us. If we find ourselves paralyzed with the ” what’s not available, who isn’t helping, what is not affordable, if only situations were different, etc.” then we must check our hearts.
If the secret is in Christ, making Paul say, “He can do everything in Jesus”, then can we also apply that same principle whatever situation comes our way? If you’d like to know what Paul has gone through, here is what he has to say in 2 Corinthians 11:25-26: “Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. 26 I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; 27 I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28 Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches.”
How many of us in our homeschooling journey have gone anywhere near what Paul has gone through? If you read more of Paul’s epistles, you will see a pattern. He celebrates his weaknesses! He even says he boasts about them! Why? Because they all point to the One who strengthens him. His weaknesses become avenues for Jesus to work on and display His glory.
In 2 Corinthians 12:9-11 Paul says, “And He has said to me, my grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
So homeschooler, write down your own weaknesses. Write down everything that you believe is negative in your current homeschool/parenting situation and ask Jesus to use them to display His power and His love through your life. Surrender “all these things” to Him.
A word about “All things” —as we seek to know Jesus and homeschool in Him, we will realize that we may have to give up some parts of our “all things” list. Surely, Paul did not get to visit every city, every community he desired. Surely, he couldn’t meet all the people he thought he needed to meet but he had confidence that he can do all things that Jesus will lead him to do. Believe me, homeschooling and its pursuits will truly lure us into so many directions as we seek what we think is best for our kids. And there are many pursuits that we may have to let go or say “No” to.
In Christ, seek to do the “all things” that He has set you out to do as you homeschool. Do not over do but also do not give in to laziness and complacency. Through God’s grace, let us learn to surrender each day to Him, seeking to do all things excellently as unto Him yet depending on His strength, guidance and wisdom.
“In Christ” also begins with a relationship and with a growing knowledge of Jesus. Who is He anyway? Who is Jesus to you? Let us learn from St. Paul who once did not know Jesus, even persecuting him, seeking his arrest and death.
I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep;7 then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; 8 and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.1 Corinthians 15:3-6
Begin reading the New Testament, start with Book of John to get to know Jesus More. And in Him, let’s do all things.