Paul was facing prison walls, and as a Roman prisoner, the persecution was brutal. He was whipped, starved, and taunted—and in his letter to the Philippians, Paul talked about how death would be a relief from his state of life. His faith and courage were tested, and he wasn’t sure he was going to make it past this imprisonment.
Where is your faith being tested today? Whether it’s in your job or in your home, what’s your biggest challenge? What feels brutal, or where does life seem impossible?
Paul knew what it was like to live on every side of the spectrum. He was familiar with both an empty and full stomach. He knew how to live on almost nothing or with everything. He once had plenty, but during the time of this letter, he had very little. Yet, even then, we read the infamous line: “I have learned how to be content with whatever I have . . . for I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” A few lines down, Paul wrote, “At the moment I have all I need—and more! And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.”
If anyone had cause to grumble or complain, it would be Paul. If anyone felt abandoned by God, it would be this disciple who was imprisoned because he shared the Gospel. And if anyone had reason to be discontent over his life circumstances, it would be the guy held up in chains.
But Paul declared he was content—and more staggering, that he had beyond what he even needed. How? On what foundation? Through what means? Christ, and Christ alone.
As we spend time in prayer, soak in His Word, and live aware of His all-surrounding presence in our lives, may we also reach that place of true contentment—not found in our external circumstances in any way, but only by trusting in the simple truth that God will take care of us. Because He is a never-ending fountain of strength and resources. As Paul said: We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.
- How can you adopt more of Paul’s attitude and perspective into your life?
- As you face today’s challenges, declare the truth of Philippians 4:13—“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”
Paul’s Thanks for Their Gifts
10 How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me. 11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. 14 Even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty.
15 As you know, you Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help when I first brought you the Good News and then traveled on from Macedonia. No other church did this. 16 Even when I was in Thessalonica you sent help more than once. 17 I don’t say this because I want a gift from you. Rather, I want you to receive a reward for your kindness.
18 At the moment I have all I need—and more! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God. 19 And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.
20 Now all glory to God our Father forever and ever! Amen.
Paul’s Final Greetings
21 Give my greetings to each of God’s holy people—all who belong to Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me send you their greetings. 22 And all the rest of God’s people send you greetings, too, especially those in Caesar’s household.
23 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
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