My favorite comic book hero has always been Superman. I’ve worn capes and tried jumping off high places all to no avail. It’s a wonder I didn’t break any bones as a kid. Superman, as any aficionado would know, derives his strength from the sun. As all powerful as he is there is one thing he simply cannot abide: kryptonite! It’s rock material from his home planet of Krypton. He becomes as limp as a wet noodle and totally useless. All his power is drained and his life begins to ebb out of him.
All super heroes have at least one weakness. Of course as a kid my version of Superman didn’t have any such weakness and I would just shrug it off! Today’s verse is one of those often taken out of context. The Apostle Paul is writing this letter from a prison cell. It is in this dark, dank, Roman cell that he writes this verse. We quote the verse in an effort to attempt some great feat. Paul writes that with Christ he is able to endure plenty and hunger, abundance and need. In fact he says that he has learned the secret to enduring whatever comes his way. The secret is Christ.
Paul was content. In the midst of suffering he was content. In the midst of pain and suffering he was content. With hunger pangs he was content. Sitting in a Roman jail cell he was content. That picture is so different than what we visualize when we quote this verse. In our way of thinking if he really could do all things wouldn’t he have gotten out of jail?
In our culture wouldn’t he have been a rich and prosperous preacher? Paul found the secret and it was having Jesus as his all in all. He drew his strength from the Son. Sin is our krytonite. We too can find contentment regardless of our situation and surroundings when we have Jesus Christ within us. No cape needed!