I know I have posted this before, but this is one of my favorite songs and it is being covered by Maverick City which is one of my favorite worship teams!! 🙂
10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
I want to START with the last verse of this section, verse 13. You often hear people quote this: “ I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” They use it when they are dealing with some huge circumstance and it seems insurmountable. However, observe the context here. Paul is talking about moments when he was with little, with much, hungry, fed, etc. Paul says this statement in regards to finding contentment.
If, instead of settling for a shallow truth, we observe what Scripture is truly saying we find a beautiful truth. We see things that are significantly more impactful than what is assumed at first glance. Paul is saying: no matter what type of circumstance I am in, no matter how hard it is or how great it is, I can find contentment in all situations. I can do all of this (finding contentment no matter the circumstance) through the power of Christ. He points out how immense the joy that Christ gives is! This isn’t some cliche quote about God allowing us to conquer any enemy we focus our intentions on. Instead there’s this huge ability to do something even better than that. We have been called called to suffer in SOOOO many verses. Therefore a verse like this creates an incredible place of solace for us. Though we must suffer there can be radical comfort and joy through it all!
Instead of painting this picture that leaves us depressed when we aren’t whisked away from our enemies Paul is painting a picture of a compassion that surpasses earthly vision. It surpasses natural desires. It surpasses circumstances. Paul wants the Philippians, and us, to be aware of the fact that God can provide immense fulfillment amidst the most radical of situations. There is a truth here that should be sought after relentlessly. We know suffering is real, even greater suffering may be coming. However, our God can give us (if we petition and trust) immense freedom IN the worst bondage. A freedom that no man can take away.
God, help me to read Scripture in context and see what You would have me learn. Keep me from settling with superficial truths. Instead open my eyes to the depths of Your Word. Also, help me to find Your life altering comfort amidst the storms. Remind me, when I am struggling, that even if I have very little the joy from You is far superior. Place on my mind a reminder of who You are and what You can do. 🙂 Amen!
Lots of christians preach this “health, wealth, and prosperity gospel” which is no gospel at all. Take these verses to heart. If Paul, the writer of half the New Testament, has experienced significant lack why would things be so different for us? Don’t speak lies into your friends that God will give them all of their hearts desires like a spoiled child. Instead teach them how God can give their hearts fulfillment no matter what is happening. This is, in some senses, a greater miracle. Anyone with intense focus can naturally achieve great wealth in some sense. However, only through a miracle can our carnal, materialistic hearts be joyful with little possessions. THAT is the truth we should be sharing.