But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly
that now at last your care for me has flourished again;
though you surely did care,
but you lacked opportunity.
Not that I speak in regard to need,
for I have learned in whatever state I am,
to be content:
I know how to be abased,
and I know how to abound.
Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry,
both to abound and to suffer need.
I can do all things through Christ
who strengthens me.
Context Paul was not writing this sermon during a desperate situation. He does not require the Phillipian's help, but he wanted to tell them what he has learnt for the recent period that he was not with them. Definitions 'Whatever state I am in' - Good times that we enjoy God's blessings AND bad times when we not only do not see God's blessings, but it feels like God against us. 'Abased' refers to him being put to shame, being humiliated, and put in a lower position than everyone else. 'Abound' refers to abundance, or even him being put in a higher position than everyone else. Paul reveals the secret to going through trials and tribulations It is indeed surprising that Paul said that his response to even bad situations is to be content. What does it mean to be content? What are we content in? Content may be related to happiness or joy. But often contentment has got to do with satisfaction, which then results in us feeling emotions such as happiness. Contentment is not an emotion that fluctuates, but rather contentment is rooted in the knowledge of having something that is of personal benefit. God's presence gives us joy We have to learn to be content in God, to be satisfied with the fact that His presence is the only thing that we need. His presence is the one thing that would bring us joy. If our joy is based on circumstances or people, it can be often short term and fluctuating. In fact, it is dangerous to place our joy in such temperamental things as they are never constant (Change is the only constant LMAO). But what others don't know is that our God is the only constant in this world, and His love never changes. 1 Chronicles 16:34 ESV Therefore we need to be very careful not to let our emotions based on the situation that we see in front of us, but let our emotions be based on His presence, which satisfies. When we start to take satisfaction in His presence being with us throughout every situation, we no longer need favourable situations, friends that can make us laugh, large finances or even expensive items to make us happy. We start to focus less on what we can see, but focus more on what we know. And we know that Psalms 23:4 ESV That is why Paul said that he knows how to be abased, and knows how to abound. Not that he knows how to be humiliated by others because that's not his choice nor something that he can control, but he knows how to emerge victorious in either seasons. God's presence gives us peace It is so easy to be beaten by the devil with lies such as 'you are not good enough, you cannot do this' when we face trials. But that was not God's purpose when He gave us the trials to go through! He wants us to emerge from the trials as renewed and improved human beings! The knowledge that there is a purpose for the season that we are in, furthermore God's purpose, gives me immense peace. I no longer have to be scared of the challenges because I know that He is using these challenges to mould me to become a better person. Philippians 4:6 ESV God's presence gives us renewed strength Paul realised that to emerge victorious from trials, learning to be content in the Lord's presence would allow him to be able to 'do all things through Christ who strengthens him'. Ah here 'all things' does not refer to God giving us the ability to run at the speed of light or jump down a building expecting to survive NOPE! But here is another secret - God's presence gives us the strength to carry on even when we feel like giving up! If we were to turn to Him during our trials, He would definitely give us the mental, emotional, and perhaps even physical strength to continue! Therefore, God's presence does not only give us peace in such situations but also the strength to overcome the challenges! God's presence gives us hope! Being content in God's presence with us during trials not only shifts our focus away from our emotions which are easily influenced by what we see, but it gives us a sense of hope because we know that our God only has good things installed for us. Jeremiah 29:11 ESV This hope does not mean that we would not experience trials (after all God uses trials to mould us as we have already concluded above), but rather we now have the assurance that He is in control of the situation, which means that if He is able to bring me to it, He is able to bring me THROUGH it!
2 Corinthians 9:8
8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
1 Chronicles 16:34-35
34 Oh give thanks to the Lord , for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! 35 c Say also: “Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather and deliver us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise.
11 w For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord , plans for welfare 1 and not for evil, x to give you a future and a hope.
2 Timothy 1:7
7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
6 r do not be anxious about anything, s but in everything by prayer and supplication t with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.