Daily Devotional: Day 169
“I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:12-13, NASB).
Paul had a wonderful relationship with the Christians in Philippi. In today’s passage, he is writing to thank them for the generous gifts they often sent to support Paul’s ministry. While thanking them, he takes the opportunity to show them an important secret to happiness. Look at the Scripture reading carefully. What Paul is describing should be true of every follower of Christ.
Many a Christian can relate to Paul’s experience of hardship, but not everyone responds the same way he did. Paul says he knows what it means to prosper (materially) and what it means to live with humble means. He knows what it means to be filled and what it means to go hungry. He knows what it means to live in abundance and what it means to suffer need. Notice that Paul isn’t merely describing the experience of abundance and lack. His main point that needs our attention is that he has learned the secret of being content regardless of his circumstances. So, the emphasis is on “learned.”
Then, Paul tells us the source of his ability to be content in all circumstances: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Being content with what you have (or do not have) is something you learn by imitating Jesus and drawing strength from Him. This is the mark of a follower of Christ. It is also the secret to peace and happiness.
You will not always get what you want in this life. It’s important you get used to it. Contrary to what the modern “Prosperity Gospel” wants us to believe, the Bible shows that Christians can go through a period of hardship and lack. Knowing this truth will help you to prepare for any scenario – pleasant or unpleasant. Remember, Christians are soldier of Christ. Learning to be happy and content during tough times is part of our training in the King’s service. Furthermore, being prepared with this truth will spare you frustration, disappointment and depression.
Nowhere does God’s Word promise that Christians will be immune to suffering and hardships. You can experience abundance; but you can also experience lack. And you need to learn to be happy, content and grateful as you lean on Christ for strength. Having abundance won’t necessarily bring you happiness. And, having little won’t necessarily make you unhappy, if you’re rooted in Christ.
The secret to happiness is to be rooted in Christ.
Once you’re rooted and established in Him, you can cheerfully handle whatever comes your way. Your happiness will no longer depend on what you have or what you lack. Having Christ will be enough for you. Therefore, whether your circumstances improve or not, you can do all things through Him who strengthens you. Paul learned this secret. You can, too.
May the Lord bless you with the secret of happiness. Amen.
For further study: Job 1:1-22