I was in Philippians 4 this morning when a familiar scripture drew me in. Philippians 4:11-12 "Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content; I know how to be abased, and I know hot to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need."
This scripture brought me back to all three blogs I wrote this week, I LOVE HOW GOD DOES THAT! The first being about resting in Him, "You're in Paradise, Relax" , The next being about how we're not called to be people pleasers, "Calling All People Pleasers" , and the final being about trusting God, Trustworthy.
As I read this scripture I was reminded that Paul CHOSE to always be content. Once again as we talked about in "Trustworthy" we see another example of someone who had plenty of battles that would make him want to doubt, struggle, quit, be angry, etc. Paul was beaten, shipwrecked, went hungry for days, didn't have a place to sleep, was in prison, was persecuted, stoned, mocked... etc. and yet he says "I have learned in WHATEVER STATE I AM, TO BE CONENT".
Do you see that Paul said "I have learned". Paul saw that it was a growing that had to take place. He didn't immediately go from being this esteemed "religious" man, wealthy, intelligent, and highly revered to just being perfectly content at all times with persecution, abuse, and hunger. He had to learn to be content.
I looked up the word abased which actually means to be humbled, to be brought low, to be assigned a lower rank, to be brought lower in living circumstances, to have one soul's humbled, to be ranked below those who are honored. Paul did not just address the facts that there were times he was beaten, in chains, hungry without food, but he also addressed the fact that in the eyes of many people he was now looked down upon. People who had once highly esteemed him now wanted him dead and disregarded him. In Calling All People Pleasers we discussed how God has not one time in scripture told us to please men, just to love them, our contentedness should not be based on how people view us. Thus Paul says even if I am abased, even if people look down on me, persecute me, even if those gentiles who I have come to serve don't help me, don't support me, constantly ignore my teachings, I have still learned to be content.
Then he says whether I am full or hungry, whether I abound or I suffer need, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". Do you see that he was even addressing a natural situation there? Even if I am hungry, don't have a lot of energy, even if I am persecuted, IN HIM I KNOW I CAN DO ALL THINGS.
Paul trusted God despite what circumstances, persecutions, or natural needs he was up against and because he trusted God PAUL LEARNED TO CHOOSE TO BE CONTENT. We must learn to choose to be content in all circumstances.
Be Blessed, J. Tate