Following God, Not Gain

hugging-jesus“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” – Philippians 4:11-13

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Let’s admit it, we’ve all quoted this in a moment of weakness when we needed to encourage ourselves that we could attain greater then where we were. But in reality that application is out of context with the passage’s main point. Let me ask you this. Have you ever said, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me in a moment of opportunity or plenty when you needed encouragement to “not” attain to something greater then where you were? To encourage yourself to resist a temptation for gain not granted by God’s hand, or help you be strengthened to take the lowest seat when a higher one was available? Have you ever said it to remind yourself that through Christ you can have the strength to walk in humility when the opportunity for pride arises, that through Christ you can have the strength to walk in meekness when the opportunity for praise arises, that through Christ you can have the strength to be content with where God has placed you when the opportunity for fleshly gain arises, and that through Christ you can have the strength to walk in grace and wisdom when God Himself chooses to exalt you?

You see the whole point Paul was making here was not in the strength of God to elevate him out of where he was to something greater, but rather that through Christ who strengthens him he could be content wherever God had him in that season. Whether it was to suffer or to abound, to be full, or to be hungry, he drew on Christ to strengthen him to choose humility and gratitude for where ever God placed him with total trust and faith in God’s perfect plan and wisdom. You see it’s not really about grabbing hold to a divine strength to give us more or elevate us to some greater level, it’s actually about grabbing hold to a divine strength to be content where God places us. Even if it’s lowly, humble, and seemingly glory-less. What Paul was really saying here is “I can be content in all things through Christ who strengthens me”, because his focus was on God, not gain.

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” – Philippians 4:11-13

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