Philippians 4:10-19 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.
In this Philippians 4 passage, I see three ways we are provided for as we walk with the Lord, three ways God enhances, supports, and upholds our lives.
- God produces contentment in us.
- God supplies strength in difficult times.
- God supplies what we need for daily life.
Paul said in Philippians 4:11-12: I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
Paul learned contentment because He pursued Jesus. He was singly focused on running a spiritual race. He didn’t have time to be sidetracked by the things the world had to offer. He was consumed with Christ and the result was contentment. He said in Philippians 3:10 that he wanted to know Christ. That was his life’s ambition. Knowing Christ produced contentment in Paul’s life. I truly believe that the more you know Christ the more content you will become.
When God becomes all you want, you will find you have all you need. You will be satisfied with Jesus and won’t have to look for satisfaction from the stuff of this world. You see, when you pursue Jesus, your wants change. The things you looked to previously, to make you happy, won’t hold the same interest for you.
When you pursue Jesus, you will worry less and less about what others have or how they live, you’ll worry less about life in general, and you’ll become more and more content with where God has you.
I firmly believe that the closer Paul grew to Christ, the less attractive and less important the things of the world became to him which resulted in his contentment.
Paul tells us that God supplies strength in difficult times. Paul said that he could live a contented life because God would give him strength to endure those tough times. God doesn’t always answer our prayers the way we want Him to. He doesn’t always swoop in and change our circumstances. There are times He knows it is in our best interest for us to struggle a bit and for us to be weakened to the place where we can be helped by His supernatural strength.
We can be at our weakest and yet, at the same time, become strong because of what Jesus does in us. That’s what I’ll call the II Corinthians 12:10 principle. Paul said there that when he was weak, then he was strong. What he meant was that in the most difficult times of his life, he became the most aware of what God could do in him to sustain and help him make it.
I am strengthened in times of trial because I know when I go through that trial, I am not going through it alone. If I focus on Jesus in tough times, instead of what is causing me pain, I will see Him at work, and when I see Him working, I gain courage and strength to know that what I am enduring is temporary and that God will get me through it.
Look at Isaiah 40:20-31: 29 God gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;31 but those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
God gives strength to the weary. In verse 31 we are told that those who wait on the Lord, those who are looking to Him, those who are trusting in His promises, those who are seeking Him in prayer, those who are relying on His Word, those who are serving Him in faith, they will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary. Their strength will be renewed.
Paul endured so much pain. He endured prison. He endured beatings. He didn’t go looking for any of it, but it sure found him. And when it did, God showed up. Jesus propped him up. Jesus helped him up. Jesus took over. Jesus gave renewal and rest. Jesus made a way for Paul to continue to be a preacher of the Gospel. When Paul could have been tempted to say, “That’s it, I am throwing in the towel. I am done living for Jesus,” God gave him the strength he needed to keep going. I am so thankful that God provides real strength in real life crises to help us move forward.
The third way I see that God provides for us in this passage is simply this: God supplies what we need for daily life. I am not touting a prosperity Gospel. God cares far more about your soul than He does your bank account. However, He has bound Himself in a relationship with you and promises to care for and provide for you as you walk with Him and trust Him to do it.
Paul said in verse 18 that he was amply supplied. That wasn’t always the case. Sometimes he was hungry for a minute. Sometimes he wasn’t sure he could stretch his resources out until more funds came in. But as long as God had a plan to use Paul, as long as Paul was on the earth, God took care of him. Paul concluded the passage by saying, “God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”
Life with Jesus is meant to be a day-by-day walk, a day-by-day dependence, a day-by-day trusting in Him. Matthew 6 contains the words of the Lord’s Prayer where we are taught to pray, “Give us this day, our daily bread.” We are taught to look to God to supply what we need for each and every day. But here’s my observation. Many people are chasing the things of the world for satisfaction and contentment while running on their own strength and then they wonder why they are struggling to have what they need.
Many want to live their own way and then hold a grudge against God when things don’t work out for their good. You can’t leave God out of the equation and then ask God to bless you with a favorable outcome when you are purposely living a life He didn’t sanction. Oh, sometimes God provides for us even in our foolishness because He can’t help Himself, but there is no substitute for living in the hand of God according to the plan of God.
When we allow God to provide for us we will live contented, we will have strength in all kinds of situations and we will have what we need.