“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (vs11-13)
Christ strengthens us to do the impossible. He makes us content, no matter what is happening with us, whether we are up or down. Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. We are not moved by circumstances because our hope is in Jesus the Son and the salvation that He gives. We have all things, so we can handle ANY loss, and we have more glory in Christ than anywhere else, so we can handle any success without distraction. This is something Paul learned, as he was initiated into the mystery, and this is what we must LEARN also. God takes things away and says “no” to our desires because He wants us to know that we have Him and need nothing else.
Christ isn’t part of our life or the most important part; He is our life: everything (Col 3:4). We are not happy if we get a husband or a wife, or a better salary. We are happy because the Son died for us and lives for our salvation. We’ve obtained mercy and grace and the forgiveness of sins, so whatever we don’t have is made up for by what we DO have. We are miraculously spared from the Lake of Fire, and this is apart from any works that we have done, so we always have more than we deserve. Likewise, it doesn’t matter what God blesses you with, He makes you understand that Christ is more glorious. Therefore, you’re thankful, humble, and you serve Him with the gift, rather than serving yourself and rejecting the God who gave it.
He teaches us contentment, which is more valuable than if He simply gave in to our lusts. No matter we have, if we weren’t satisfied with Christ, we’re unhappy and covetous of more. But, seeing the Son’s glory, we endure losses and successes contentedly! This strength is powerful, and I’ve learned it through painful disappointments. I wanted something badly, but I got more when God told me know and showed me He is wise, loves me, and He has power to change the “no” into a “yes”, if it is for my good and pleases Him. He will do us good, if He gave us Christ, and this helps us rest amidst disappointments. We have everything, so we lack nothing and we are led astray by nothing that He gives.
Secondly, glorify God for His care through the gifts of others. Paul said, “Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress. Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities.Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Paul was content, but he rejoice to see God provide and others proving THEIR salvation. He wasn’t greedy for money, but he was thankful to see people love tangibly and sacrificially by giving. They didn’t give to earn God’s favor or impress Paul. They were expressing thankfulness, love, and obedience. These Philippians showed unique generosity, even when others were negligent, and this proved that Paul’s labors were fruitful and the people were not forgetful hearers. It is ENCOURAGING to see a church behaving godly, laying aside her own things for the benefit of others, giving because heaven is their hope! She is more than a leach, but she honors God and imitates Christ who served us unto death, even the cross.
Be assured. God will supply the NEED of all who honor Him, so never waver thinking, “Who will care for me, if I help them?” God is the rewarder of the goodness that He has worked in you. He gets the credit for our love, and then He is careful to honor us for it forever.
Finally, be open hearted towards others (vs21-23). We read, “Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you, but especially those who are of Caesar’s household. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen”. The book of Philippians teaches us that serving others is the mind of Christ (Phil 2:1-4). We want others to know God, and we see to it that they do, sacrificing our own for their good. This gracious mind wants others to prosper, and it is the reason that God gives grace to you. Be open-hearted to others, and God is with you.