The Source of Our Strength
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction.
-Philippians 4:13-14, NASB
-Paul says that he can do all things by the strength that Christ gives.
-Paul commends the Philippians for the help and concern they have shown.
Yesterday I said to get ready for the rest of the story: Philippians 4:10-12. Paul told the Philippians that he had learned to be content whether in abundance or when suffering need. How is that possible? Paul had learned that in each of these instances it is Christ who gives him strength and therefore he can be content whether his belly is full or empty. I have always heard this verse applied in a manner that suggests no matter what your circumstances God gives you strength to succeed, to overcome. In the context of the previous verses however I believe this verse is speaking specifically of material needs. "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. " -Philippians 4:12-13 Paul is saying he is not dependent on anyone but Christ to provide for his needs. The source of his strength is not the gift that the Philippians sent-it is in Christ alone. However his contentment in any circumstance does not diminish his praise for their partnership with him in promoting the Gospel.
Honestly those kinds of wants are not something that I have often experienced. There have been times in the past when we had to get creative to afford a sack of groceries, but abundance seems to be more the case for us. So, while I need to learn from Paul how to be content and develop the confidence that God will give me strength when there is little and when there is much, there is another valuable lesson here. Like the Philippians I need to be ready to be generous when there is a need in the church. I need to acknowledge that everything I have belongs to God. I need to be ready to relinquish the bounty He has given me in order to further the spread of the Gospel. It is not that God needs my resources--He who can pull something out of thin air-- but rather that I desire to do my part. Paul rejoiced in the Philippians gift because in doing so they were furthering the Gospel, they were partnering with him in the ministry he had been given. That is what it is all about.
Grace, Peace, and Mercy,
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I am a woman with a Mary heart and these are my musings as I read and study God's Word
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