I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 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. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
English Standard Version
A man named Paul wrote these words nearly two thousand years ago from a Roman prison. He was coming to the close of his thank-you letter when he wrote, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
The “him” here is the man who got Paul into prison in the first place. Paul had begun to proclaim all over the known world that the man Jesus of Nazareth, who had died only about 30 years prior and had risen from the dead, was God himself, come to save all who believe in him from their sins. If you were to read Paul’s whole letter, you would find out that Jesus is also the source of Paul’s joy in suffering and his hope in life and death.
People often read this verse thinking Paul was saying, “I can do absolutely anything I set my mind to do—possible or impossible—because God is on my side.” But in reality, as the old man writes from jail, speaking about physical needs that were met by his friends, he is expressing that the Jesus who saved him from sin can sustain him whether he is hungry or full, abounding or lacking. Whether rich or poor, hungry or well-fed, Jesus is enough.
What would be enough for you in your life? If you were in jail, without food and chilled without proper clothes, what would be enough for you? If you had just eaten at the best restaurant, would you be satisfied? Think of your best experience. Did it leave you contented? Think of your worst experience. What was enough for you? Is it still enough?
Jesus Christ, Paul says, is the savior of the world, and we desperately need him to be so. But in this letter, Paul wants us to know that he is the joy of our hearts in life and death, strong enough for the worst and best of circumstances.
To know this contentment and joy is to know Jesus. Do you know him?
Experience the bible
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
he [Paul] is saying,
“I’ve learned to be content
when I received everything I want;
I learned to be content when I got nothing
I wanted. I can do either one
by the power of Christ."
I have learned
how to be
whatever the circumstances.
Indeed, our afflictions may be heavy, and we cry out, "Oh, we cannot bear them, we cannot bear such an affliction."
Though you cannot tell how to bear it with your own strength, yet how can you tell what you will do with the strength of Jesus Christ? You say you cannot bear it? So you think that Christ could not bear it?
But if Christ could bear it why may you not come to bear it? You will say, "Can I have the strength of Christ?"
Yes, it is made over to you by faith: the Scripture says that the Lord is our strength, God himself is our strength, and Christ is our strength. There are many Scriptures to that effect, that Christ's strength is yours, made over to you, so that you may be able to bear whatever lies upon you.
I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
the surpassing worth
For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
is great gain.
O God, I beg two favors from you; let me have them before I die.
First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
Listen to Paul’s letter to the Philippians read out loud by Streetlights Bible, a multi-media creative ministry that reads God’s Word to modern beats.