Philippians 4:9-12

In Philippians 4:9-12 Paul returns to the guidance around following him as an example. He had the integrity to put himself out there are an example of how to be an effective Christ Follower. He really could and did say, “Follow me as I follow Jesus.” “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” We need to ask ourselves where would someone be if they followed you or me? Would we lead them to Jesus, or lead them astray and away from the Savior and Lord? If the Philippians did as Paul had instructed, not only would they have had the peace of God, but the God of peace would have also been with them. Would that be true of your life?

Paul then praises the Philippians for their faithful giving. “I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity.” Paul wasn’t implying that the Philippians didn’t care before, only that before they lacked opportunity. When they had the opportunity, then their care for Paul flourished again. And he reminded the Philippians that his thankfulness for their giving wasn’t because he was needy (though he was in fact in need), but because it was good for them to be givers. “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”

Here’s a major difference between Paul and most of us in the human race – contentment. Paul had to learn contentment; it isn’t natural to mankind. This was how Paul could say that his thankfulness was not based upon his own need. Even though Paul was in need, he was content where he was at – even in his Roman imprisonment. “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.” Paul reminds us that his contentment was not only theoretical. He actually lived in contentment. Paul had been financially well-off; and he had been financially in need.

Paul knew how to abound. Spurgeon explained “There are a great many men that know a little how to be abased (humble in their circumstance), that do not know at all how to abound. When they are put down into the pit with Joseph, they look up and see the starry promise, and they hope for an escape. But when they are put on the top of a pinnacle, their heads grow dizzy, and they are ready to fall.” Paul understood completely what it was like to have little and be in deep need, but also to have plenty and experience the blessing of God’s bounty. The secret was he learned how to be content in both states knowing that God was completely in control of his abundance or need.

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