Here’s a question that came to mind as I was reading my Bible this morning during “coffee with the Lord”… What am I able to handle? What kind of circumstances am I able to deal with in life successfully and gracefully as a Christian?
I read the following testimony by Apostle Paul from prison and thought about what he said… It left me in awe and caused me to offer a prayer to God for help. Here’s what he said…
“I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 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. I can do all things through him who strengthens me!” (Philippians 4:11–13 ESV)
Wow! Here the guy is… unjustly imprisoned in Rome. From the very beginning dear friends from the church in Phillipi had supported his ministry… But then all of a sudden – Nothing! Nada! No support! No communication! He had to wonder what was coming off – what had happened. Questions flooded his mind. His billfold was empty! It appeared his friends (and perhaps even God, had forgotten or forsaken him!
In his testimony, it appears that his situation actually taught him an important lesson… How to be content in any situation: lack or abundance – poverty or plenty – fellowship or lack of it. The tense of the Greek verb Paul used seems to suggest that when the challenges were the worst and the frustration the greatest he learned the lesson – in a moment of time, in a kind of epiphany of insight.
The lesson? The secret that he learned? “I can do all things through Him that strengthens me!” He discovered the sufficiency of Christ – the adequacy of His enablement – the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit! He discovered that he could handle whatever life and circumstances brought his way with the help of the Lord! Jesus, and the power He provides, were enough… more than enough!
Wow! What a lesson to be mastered! What a life-secret! I don’t know very many people who have it down yet though… very many who demonstrate they have discovered “the secret!” Most of us think we can handle plenty and prosperity (and demonstrate we can’t)! We whine and complain over poverty and problems. Contentment, for us, is illusive or absent (and it is entirely all too dependent on our circumstances)!
Oh Lord, I want to show that I’ve learned the lesson Paul learned – the secret of His contentment! I want to exhibit the truth of the secret he discovered… “I can do – I can handle – all things through Christ who enables me!”