Exploring Philippians | Being Content | Philippians 4.10-13 | Movementministriesblog.com  

by | Jun 21, 2022

“I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4.10-13

Philippians 4.13 is one of the most quoted verses in our time. Next to John 3.16 or Psalm 23, if someone knows those verses, they probably know 4.13. We apply and sometimes mis-apply it to many circumstance and situations. In this final chapter of Paul’s letter, he is having an introspective moment as he turns his thoughts inward to reflect upon his own circumstances.

Paul begins by recognizing how the church renewed their care and concern for him. Perhaps there was a time when they put their focus elsewhere, but now, they are returning to regard him with love, grace and offer support. Before, Paul says, they might have been concerned for his well-being but ”had no opportunity to show it.” Now Paul reflects upon his own life — he has learned to be content in all circumstances, he knows what it means to be in need, sometimes he has plenty, but he’s learning to ”be content in every situation.” What situations might Paul be referring? Imprisonment, shipwreck, persecution, beatings, hunger and rejection just to name a few.

Yet Paul rejoices in the midst of all these things because God is the source of his strength and Paul can endure, even overcome, all of these circumstances. With Christ at the center of his life, Paul is safe and secure knowing his purpose lies in the hand of the One who rescued him from sin and death.

Some say we misquote this verse when we apply it to our own lives liberally. But I disagree. I believe that as Christ followers, we can take our own experiences and place them before the base of the Cross beneath the feet of Jesus. No matter what is happening, we too can find not only contentment in all things but gratitude and courage through Christ. We take our struggles and say, ”I can make it through this difficulty because of the One who gives me strength.”

Whatever is plaguing you this day, whatever is haunting your dreams or keeping you up at night, let the cry of your heart be a resounding prayer of praise to the Father. Paul faced many obstacles and so do we. But what we have is common is our Helper, Jesus the Christ. He, by the power of the Holy Spirit, is among us even now.

Will you turn to him? Seek refuge in his arms and comfort in his love.

“O Lord God, you are good. Today I reflect on the passing of a former friend and church member. A man in his eighties who went to be with the Lord. His name was Charlie Cummi. I don’t grieve his death because I celebrate his life. I thank you Lord for allowing us to have the hope of Heaven. No matter what we face, in this temporal and quirky world, we have saving hope in Jesus. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me with your love. Help me know that you have my life in your hands. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen