Friday, August 06, 2021

2021.08.06 Hopewell @Home ▫ Philippians 4:10–13

Read Philippians 4:10–13

Questions from the Scripture text: What did the apostle do (Philippians 4:10)? In Whom? How much? Why—what has flourished again? What does he acknowledge about their care in the in-between time? But what had they lacked? What is he careful to say that he is not implying about himself (Philippians 4:11a)? What has he learned, and under what conditions (verse 11b)? What two things does he know how (rightly) to do (Philippians 4:12a)? And in what places and circumstances to do what two pairs of things (verse 12b)? How does he summarize these things in Philippians 4:13? Through Whom can he do them? How does being in Christ equip him to be content when suffering/brought low and when abounding?

The Philippians had apparently been champing at the bit to do something for Paul, but they just didn’t have any opportunity (Philippians 4:10c). This was in part because the apostle didn’t ordinarily see himself as needy (cf. Philippians 4:11-12). For the Philippians to be ever-ready to give, what the apostle says of himself would have had to be true of them, too.

I wonder if it is true of you, dear reader? Are you so content with Christ, that you don’t truly need anything but Him? Even if it means being “abased” and “hungry” and “suffering need” (Philippians 4:12)? It’s a tall order, but Christ is taller still. The Christian can quickly discover that compared to Christ, everything else taken together is a comparative pile of refuse (cf. Philippians 3:8). 

O to know that Christ is all! Then, we are enabled by Christ’s strengthening to be content in every situation like the apostle (cf. Philippians 4:13). Or, we are enabled to be generous the first moment that we get, like the Philippians (cf. Philippians 4:10). If we feel no need to cling to the things of this world, then we can take the opportunity for generosity when it arises. Otherwise, we will end up reasoning that we had wanted to be generous, but it didn’t end up being a good time. Indeed, if Christ is everything to us, then He “strengthens” (Philippians 4:13) us to be content and serve the Lord, regardless of the details of our circumstances.

If we have a hard time giving generously to others, or if we feel embittered that others are not giving generously to us, that is a good indicator that we have not learned the secret of contentment: to be so satisfied with Christ that any other neediness or hardship is not just tolerable, but even welcome, if we could only have Him!

What do you worry most about needing? What effect would increased contentment in Christ have upon this? How can you go about seeking that contentment?

Suggested songs: ARP73C “Yet Constantly, I Am With You” or TPH73C “In Sweet Communion, Lord, with Thee”

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