I Have Learned Whatever State I Am In To Be Content!
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Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content. Philippians Yes doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord Genesis And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat Exodus And Moses was content to dwell with the man: and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter.
Matthew Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? Luke And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said to them, Do violence to no man Hebrews For you had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods In either I am simply aware God puts me where he wants me, and whatever he wants is what I want.
When we struggle with that it's a revelation we are not yet willing to take that step. That may be rather blunt, but it's the truth, isn't it? Paul has learned to say "I can--I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me--because he has learned that everything that comes to him is permitted by God, in order that people may see the wonder of God who loves people and uses things.
I sometimes grow weary of hearing the continual cry, "I can't" from the people of God. What a monotonous refrain it is. I can't stand so-and-so. I can't live with my mother-in-law. I can't teach a Sunday School class. What a glorious thing to find someone who can say "I can"! I remember what a delight came to my spirit when a few years ago we put out what we called an "enlistment blank" to the congregation.
Some of you will remember it. We listed all types of activities and ministries within the church and outside the church. We asked people to check their interests, and various people helpfully checked certain activities that they enjoyed or felt they could do, and this was a great help to us. But one man simply wrote across it, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. The letters stood for "never say no," and anyone who joined the NSN Club would simply always say yes to what they were asked to do. I wish we had clubs like that throughout the church.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me-that's the secret of being satisfied in every circumstance. If you are unwilling to learn the secret, you certainly will not be enjoying the contentment. Now verse 14 introduces the other problem, how to be supplied with every need. The apostle says, vv. And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving except you only; for even in Thessalonica you sent me help once and again.
Not that I seek the gift; but I seek the fruit which increases to your credit. I have received full payment, and more; I am filled, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Here we have an expression of warm and fragrant thanks for the gifts these people had sent to him by the hand of Epaphroditus, yet he is quick to point out that he is far more interested in what their giving does for them than what it does for him.
You remember the Lord Jesus said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive. The word "fruit" here is a common word in the business world of that day for "interest". What Paul is saying is "I don't desire the capital. I only want the interest, and it is continually increasing to your account. That's what he is after; not that he needs the gift. He wants them to be blessed in the giving, and that is why he so gladly receives these gifts from them. Then he writes what is nothing more nor less than a receipt, in verse "I have received full payment, and more.
This is not necessary in order for the Internal Revenue Department so that it might be deducted from the income tax. This is the reason we give receipts today. But this receipt was given in order that they may know the gift has gone farther than Rome. It has reached to heaven as well, where it is presented as a fragrant incense delighting the heart of God.
God sees this gift given so freely to the apostle out of their poverty.
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In another epistle he speaks of the deep poverty out of which they gave. It becomes a delightful fragrance to God's heart, pleased with the evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
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I think each offering in the church, and each gift of any Christian to any specific need, ought to be something that is given in such a willing, gracious, generous expression of the love and thanksgiving of the heart that God is just simply delighted as he knows it is the spirit of love within that prompts this kind of giving. Remember we are told the Lord Jesus "sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the multitude putting money into the treasury. He watches as we drop our check into the offering plate or coin into the box or mail it off.
And he knows the intent of our hearts in this, and that is why the apostle so strongly says, "God loves a cheerful giver", a hilarious giver, one who gladly pours it out. This delights His heart, because this is the way He gives. When we give this way, the result will be the fulfillment of the promise of verse "And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Don't divorce that from its context. That is a promise for givers. Not for non-givers.
It's what God does in return for the expression of your gift. It isn't a blank check for the whole human race. Unfortunately, we often subtract it from its context and take it as a blank check we can cash any time we are in need. It has sometimes been taken to apply to everyone everywhere. It is not that. Half the world goes to bed hungry every night, as you know, and millions live in desperate need in both body and spirit.
This is not a promise that God is going to meet all the time every need of every human life. He cannot, and permits the world to express its own innate tendencies, hungers and desires. This is a promise in exact accord with our Lord Jesus' own words in the Sermon on the Mount. Remember what he said: "Give and it will be given to you. You give, and God will give back to you. Of course it's understood that we have all received freely from him first, and out of that sense of having received from him, let us give. The Lord says, "Give and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap.
For the measure you give will be the measure you get back. That is exactly what Paul is saying here to his dear Philippian friends. He says you have given to me out of your poverty, out of your lack, at cost to yourselves. I am grateful for that, not because of the gift which in itself was a delightful fragrance in the nostrils of God, but it means that my God will also give back to you and supply every need of yours, abundantly, overpoweringly, overwhelmingly out of the riches in Christ Jesus.
It is necessary we take that in its proper context. First of all, notice the source of supply: "my God". Not just God will supply, but God known in personal experience. Not some remote power running the earth, giving to the just and unjust alike, but a personal Father.
Compare Translations for Philippians 4:11
This is a family matter. This is a promise for the children of God, those who belong to him. Then notice the limits of supply: every need, all your need. It has often been pointed out, and quite properly, that it doesn't say, "all your wants". Our wants are sometimes far beyond our needs. I remember Dr. Ironside used to say he delighted to walk through Woolworth's dime stores because it was always such a comfort to him to see so many things he could get along without. There are so many wants in our lives, and really so relatively few needs.
God has promised to supply your needs, and you must leave the interpretation of what is a need up to him. Sometimes it's hard for us to see the difference between a want and a need, or even a whim. The Lord will supply the need; therefore we finally have the axiom we all must face, that whatever we don't obtain we don't require, for if he promises unfailingly to supply our needs we will have it.
Someone has said that at the beginning of this century the average American wanted 72 things, 18 of which he regarded as necessary.
I have learned to be content in whatever state I am in
But by the mid-century mark, , the list of American wants had grown to things, 96 of which he regarded as absolute necessities. That shows something of the pressure we are under to have our wants regarded as needs. But God knows us, and your actual need may be to learn how few things you really need, and he will supply that need.
He promises to supply all of them, and that is not only physical but in every realm of our lives. Our need for companionship. Our need for purity. Our need for a challenge, to give us something to follow, some work to do. Or even that nameless something we feel but we never can express or explain. He can supply that need, and he will in Christ. Remember what Jesus said, "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink.
Not that I speake in respect of want: for I haue learned in whatsoeuer state I am, therewith to bee content.
How To Be Content | Everyday Answers - Joyce Meyer
Bible commentary Click here to view. He only can teach this. In everything, therewith to be content - Joyfully and thankfully patient. Nothing less is Christian content. We may observe a beautiful gradation in the expressions, I have learned; I know; I am instructed; I can. Lest they should think that he rejoiced because he had been in want, Paul adds for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, [therewith] to be content.
He had learned to be content, whatever was his state. He had Christ, and to him Christ was all in all.