This is what God gave me today in his word:
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. (Philippians 4:11-12)
Well, Paul, what’s the secret then? And why is it we would need it? After all, you, yourself, (in verse 19 of this same chapter) say God will meet all our needs. But, first question first:
I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)
That’s it? You can do all things though him who strengthens you, and that’s all you have to say. No secret gimmick? No astonishing secret, just that you can anything in Christ? Well what do I need that for? That sure doesn’t seem like it would help me much in prison!
At least, to start with that phrase may seem “useless”. But when you realize that you can’t actually do anything in of yourself to, as the case may be; endure prison, or something of the sort, then realizing you can do all things in Christ is an extremely comforting verse and assurance. But even still, unless you live in some place where being a Christian is still illegal, you won’t be thrown in prison for it. So I ask again; what do we need this verse for? What does it matter, unless we’re hungry (etc) that we can do all things in “him who strengthens us”?
All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. (Isaiah 64:6)
The reality of the situation is; whether physically or spiritually, we can do pretty much nothing by our self; accomplish nothing for the Gospel physically, and not grow spiritually. It would be like a plant trying to grow and spread seed without the sun. In our case, the sun is the son, and in order to do anything, we shouldn’t do anything. I know how that sounds, it seems counter-intuitive, but if you’ll reread the verse in Isaiah, you’ll see that anything we do, is just like an “unclean rag”.
So all in all, Paul’s “‘secret’ to being content,” is everyone’s secret to being content, both spiritually and psychically as Paul himself would no doubt tell you.
You are loved!