Philippians 4:12–13 (NIV): 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13 is one of the most quoted and loved verses in the Bible. Many of us have even memorized it.
Sports teams have it written on banners. Youth groups have it printed on t-shirts.
However, what most people don’t understand is that it doesn’t necessarily mean what they think it means.
Most people use this verse to cheer them onto victory. But that’s not at all what Paul is saying.
Check out today’s 2-minute Bible study to see what Paul means when he says that he can all things through Christ who gives him strength.
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Hey, welcome to The Simple Truth. I’m Julie Carruth.
Yesterday we explored Paul thanking the church in Philippi for their generous gift in Philippians chapter 4. But he also expressed that he didn’t need help because he learned to be content in any situation. Paul gives us the secret to being content in Philippians chapter 4 verses 12 thru 13, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. (and now the verse you can probably quote by heart – Philippians 4:13) I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
So, it’s like he’s saying, “My needs may be met, they may not be met. Either way, I’m satisfied. I won’t let my material circumstances dictate my mindset. Why? Because I learned that contentment doesn’t come from what we have but rather contentment comes from whom we have.”
Now remember, Paul has lived on both sides of the tracks, so to speak. He grew up with plenty. Plenty of clothes, education, notoriety, food. In the original Greek language, the word for “well fed” as in “whether well fed or hungry” was used to describe the feeding and fattening animals. It’s like Paul’s saying, “I’ve lived a full life like a fattened animal.” Meaning he ate really well.
But then Paul says I’ve learned to live “in want.” Paul’s been in and out of prison. I mean, right now as he writes this letter, he’s in house arrest, chained to a Roman soldier 24/7. He doesn’t know whether he’s going to live or die.
But Paul says he learned how to be content no matter his circumstances. And what’s his secret? He can do all things through Christ who strengthens him. The Greek word for “strengthen” means “to put power into.” Because you are in Christ, Christ empowers you with His strength to sustain you no matter your situation.
So, your Simple Truth for today: As a Christian, Christ lives in you, and no matter what situation you face, whether you have everything you need or you’re living in want, Christ has put His power and strength into you and because that is within you right now you can be content in any and every situation.
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