Text: Philippians 4:10-14
Theme: Paul knew the secret for how to thrive with a little or a lot.
Key verses: “Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (v. 11-13).
What God said to me: Good morning! You have been blessed beyond measure, Dwayne. You have never really gone without food or basic comforts. Paul went days without food and months locked in a prison cell. He knew things and saw things you cannot imagine. That doesn’t make you a bad or incomplete person, mind you. But it does mean you will have a greater struggle comprehending “the secret” to which Paul referred. Since you were a teenager you have quoted Philippians 4:13 for everything from witnessing to waiting to walking by faith. However, what you have failed to do well is apply that verse in context with the rest of Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi. Paul was telling them he didn’t need their money. He wasn’t desperate for their help. He had learned to be content, period. How could he be contented in the most dire and despicable of circumstances? He knew Christ who gave him the strength he needed to endure and to live in it. There was no other source of help for Paul–no person or government or NGO–that could bail him out or come to his aid like Jesus could. He placed his full hope and trust in my Son. That was his secret to surviving and even thriving in the messes and despairs of life. That is your secret too. You can do all through things, endure all things, live through all things, and even be satisfied in every situation–but only if your satisfaction and strength are derived from Christ Jesus your Savior and Lord.
What I said to God: Holy Father and Source of my Life, You truly are my provider, Jehovah-Jireh. You truly are the One who sustains me and gives my life more abundantly. Please forgive me when I look around for my satisfaction and fulfillment rather than looking up to You who made me and loves me and gave Your Son for me. I am not asking you to teach me the secret in the same way you did for Paul. Honestly, there is no part of me that wants to go through what Paul went through. Nonetheless, please help me appreciate the good things You have brought into my life, and not take for granted my freedoms and comforts. Moreover, please help me not cling to my comfy lifestyle and miss the mission and ministry You might have for me out there among people who don’t know You as I do and don’t have Your peace in their lives. I love You and I lift my voice, to worship You, oh my soul rejoice. Take joy, my King, in what You hear. May it be a sweet, sweet sound in Your ear.