Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11-13
From the text, Paul expressed his contentment no matter what his circumstances. Contentment is the ability to experience inner strength and discipline that no matter what circumstances come to life, he will not be controlled by them. This attitude will prevent worry and anxiety. Paul had this determination for he learned how to rely and trust God. Our reliance on our human strength could prevent us from trusting Christ. Once we become dependent on our own abilities, strength, and resources we assume the position that we do not need outside help. It is unfortunate that when we come to the end of our rope that is only the time we seek help. Paul was strong-willed and persistent as he faced those who were opposed to the work of God. He used to rely more on his own strength but he found that such attempt led to futility. Until God allowed him to have a thorn in the flesh that he learned humility. (See 2 Corinthians 12:7). He prayed and asked God to remove the affliction but God’s answer was different from what he was expecting. “Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness’” (2 Corinthians 12:9). It was only in his weakness that he learned how to trust God. He learned how to be dependent in God and in His grace that richly abounds. This is what sustained him during times of trails even when he was imprisoned facing a looming death. Yet in the midst of such circumstances, he could still say, “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4). Do not allow yourself to feel that you can muster your own strength and be deceived by thinking that you do not need God. Beware for if you feel strong in an area of your life, God might bring you to a point of weakness even if it needed that you will be afflicted. When this happens, express your dependence on God and in the midst of the affliction seek out His strength. Christian life is not only difficult but also impossible for it can only be lived by trusting God’s power working within.
Noel De Guzman