Philippians 4:10-23

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.

14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15 Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16 for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need.17 Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. 18 I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

20 To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

 21 Greet all God’s people in Christ Jesus. The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. 22 All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.

23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

Reflection

In the latter part of Philippians 4, we read two of the most well-known encouragements in the Bible: “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (verse 13), and “My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (verse 19).  Even though they lift our spirits, we need to remind ourselves that these statements didn’t come at the snap of a finger.

The first declaration was uttered when countless physical challenges led the Apostle Paul to find the secret to contentment: when he fully trusted and depended on God for his needs, he was no longer tied to his physical circumstances.  Instead of being controlled by his circumstances, Paul overcame them through Christ who strengthened him.

The second declaration came after the Philippians sent a love offering to sustain Paul.  They did this not only oncebut many times over the course of their relationship with him, and Paul reminded them that his God would meet all their needs.  Out of his grateful heart for their loving support, the Apostle Paul proclaimed one of the most pleasantly surprising statements in that God will meet not just a few or some, but all their needs according to His glorious riches in Jesus.  It is easier to focus on the hope of these encouragements and forget the painful circumstances that produced them.  Because the Apostle Paul and other forefathers endured the difficult task of trailblazing, our own journey, no matter how difficult at times, can be evaluated in the light of their journey and their experiences.  How blessed we are to have these people who went ahead of us!  Likewise, we are the forefathers of those who are coming after us, and we should hold tenaciously to the same secret of contentment even when we are called to sacrifice.  May the Lord give us strength and blessings so that we may utter the same declaration of faith, just as the Apostle Paul did!

 

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