(Warren E. Berkley)
10 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. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 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. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
When you are the needy recipient of help and concern from good people, it causes joy. Even if tangible help isn’t within their means, the fact they want to help and will help you when they can – is a cause of joy. Paul rejoiced in the Lord, knowing of the love and concern of the Philippian Christians. Even when they were unable to help, Paul knew their heart longed to send help, and that they would when they had opportunity.
And, this was not a case where Paul merely wanted his needs met. Because, he had learned – in whatever situation – to be content just serving the Lord and relying on the Lord for his daily need (perhaps not knowing for certain how those needs would be met, but believing God would care for him).
In Paul’s life and service to the Lord, he had learned this rare contentment, often not knowing how needs would be met. He had learned by the experience of faith, how to live in the low places. Yet, was able to maintain good humility in the high places. That character is described here as “the secret of facing plenty and hunger.”
Someone might ask, “what course can I take to learn this secret?” Or, “what book can I read … what video or seminar can I see or visit?”
Paul learned this contentment through his life and service to the Lord. And he describes it like this: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
This didn’t mean Paul was a Superhero with powers, or that he could fly or become visible or invisible at will. Active faith in Christ does not afford us the ability to do any impossible thing we can conceive! Dismiss that popular concept.
It means, the believer can do all that Christ expects him to do, with the full measure of strength required for the tasks.
Phil. 4:9 is not some magical incantation that enables the positive mental attitude believer to achieve the impossible, work miracles and do sensational but useless things.
It is a simple description of how Paul learned contentment; how he was able to live down low in the dungeon and yet remain humble in higher places.
It applies to believers today but must not be taken as a blank check or a ticket admitting us to the impossible.
What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.