“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13 NIV
I used to be really good at giving advice. Whenever someone came to me with a problem the first thing I would say is some version of, “You should try this…” or “Have you thought about this…?” It was a wonderful way of ignoring the problem or refusing to put myself into someone else’s shoes, and instead jumping right to the solution, or being selfish and turning the conversation back to me. Because, you know, I’m easy. I know how to do me, and I know exactly what needs to be done. #Sarcasm.
But of course, cleaning up other people’s lives really isn’t my job. And furthermore, in the messiness is actually where God is. Before Paul tells us he can do anything through God, he writes about his ability to be content no matter what is facing him. In need or in plenty, well fed or hungry. And yet, none of what he goes on to say is advice. It’s not direction. He encourages, uplifts, and reassures. He does this because he knows that our job is not to save, our job is to point towards the savior.
The role that we play is not to be the Savior, but to be present in the brokenness and the messiness alongside the person who needs to be saved. And we do this while pointing towards our Savior. We are not offering help; we are offering hope.