Philippians 4:10-14 I Can Do All Things
But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. 14 Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction.
Paul rejoices when he receives financial help from the Philippians believers. Throughout his ministry, he has known both poverty and abundance and has discovered the secret that enables him to manage his circumstances and accomplish God’s will. That secret is his enduring trust in God who has been his mainstay.
But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.
Paul rejoices greatly because the Philippians church once again reaches out to him. Even for Paul, who is the greatest Apostle, needed the support and fellowship of believers. He understood they could not show concern for him because they lacked the opportunity. But Paul makes clear that he speaks not from a position of lack and that he is able to remain sufficient even in dire financial need: Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content. Paul’s sufficiency does not depend on human supporters but on the all-sufficient God. Before the Philippians church revived their support for him, God has been supernaturally providing for his daily needs. In other words, God has always been his faithful safety net.
I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction.
The original text: I know what it is like to live humbly and prosperously, instead of the NASB version “I know how to get along with humble means…” Paul makes the point that he well understood the bitterness of poverty and the allure of abundance. Through these experiences, Paul has learned that no circumstances can hinder his ability to do God’s will and to accomplish the impossible. “The secret” refers to the mindset that he has developed that does not bow to circumstances; he does not allow circumstances to change his plans or to affect how he feels. We know from experience that abundance and poverty affects our spirit very differently. Abundance tends to draw our hearts towards its allure and the cares of life. Poverty causes us to turn our hearts away from God supposing that He has forsaken us. Paul has learned the mindset that kept him looking to the God of provision and to guard his heart from the lust of the world. This mindset renders him immovable against the tides of external circumstances to accomplish whatever God has commissioned him to do: I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
- God sometimes allow his best followers to suffer so as to inspire other believers with their courage and mettle. A man of faith does not allow dire external circumstances to affect his mental disposition or his outlook of the future. He believes that God is always at hand to provide and to show the way. There is a place for suffering even for a true man of God. While modern popular teachings supposed that there will always be abundance for a true believer and the converse implies that one has no faith. However, God sometimes allows his best followers to suffer as a catalyst to inspire other believers to follow in their footsteps. Paul’s life and ministry has proven that nothing can stop the advancement of men and women fully given to the work of God.
- That which we spend much time focusing on will naturally become concrete and tangible. We must never look to people or tangible solutions to help solve our problems. While God can use people to help us, but one’s trust must be placed firmly on God alone. The temptation is to hang onto something that is tangible, something that we can see, and to dismiss that we cannot. People and solutions are tangible and concrete, whereas a promise from God is after all just a promise. Hence, believers have to spend protracted time with God in stillness until God and His promises become concrete and tangible. That which we spend much time with will naturally become concrete and tangible. Those who have spent much time with God and His word will find Him tangible, concrete and trustworthy. Those who spend much time garnering physical resources and solutions will likewise find them concrete and reliable.
- If you are in a dire situation now, continue to depend on God and walk with Him. Perhaps, it is God’s way of using you to become an inspiration to many who are in similar situations. You could encourage others by talking candidly about your situation and how God has led you through.
- Spend more time reading the Bible systematically using the many bible-reading plans available like this one. You will realize that by not focusing on the promises alone but to read the Bible book-by-book, and line-by-line, you will increase not only in hope but also in wisdom and strength to overcome your challenges.
Dear Lord, I ask that you help me to be strong and to keep pushing my limits. I acknowledge that the Spirit in me is stronger than any physical circumstances. Hence, I will prevail under all circumstances and overcome. Open my eyes to the reality of your angels and the spiritual resources at hand so that I may be comforted and assured. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.