ESV - 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.
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It means whether you have millions of dollars, or just a few pennies, whether you have lots of stuff or you have lost everything, whether you have a car or you take the bus everywhere, whether you live in a mansion or a cardboard box, you smile in the face of adversity and you learn to be happy, no matter your current situation, because it can change.
By this scripture we learn that no condition is permanent but that we must learn to live through each and everyone of them with victory. It teaches us that we must never be overwhelmed or overtaken by any of these conditions. That in whichever of them, we must remain faithful to our God and the ministry, and everybody. Paul was assuring the Philippians that he had been committed to them in all situations. For it is evident that how we love to keep comfortable with no strain at all results in making us to compromise on much of what we are and what believe in. This fact makes us fail in our endurance which is the very battle that we must fight to the end and thereby be counted victorious and worthy of reward. It is God who rewards and we must all strive towards that (Hebrews 11:6). If you read on in Philippians 4:12, Paul says he had learnt to live with little and also to live bountifully. Thus to say he had been a seasoned faithful servant of God. Further affirming that change in conditions is never avoidable, but to be a true lover of Christ, one must acclimatize to all sorts of challenges if they are to be meaningful and to make purpose in their fight. As earlier stated, trouble or comfort emanates from conditions we live in. We all love to live comfortably, but must we do so at whatever cost? Everybody loves to be rich and which may not be bad, yet have you invested on your heavenly account (Luke 12:16-21)? Thus Jesus asks; what profits a man if he gains the whole world and he loses his own soul (Mark 8:36)? Not that it is bad to own the world if you can, but must you even at the destruction of life as it is evident in the world today? Many people have abused ministry simply to gain materially. For we ought to learn that it all comes to the same conclusion. For rich or poor, we all head in the same direction. Riches can never buy anyone life. Worldly things are simply to help us sail through this earth. The body will never profit anybody. Only what one invests in heaven will count and will bring profit (Matthew 6:19-20). Thus to say; we came with nothing in this world, so shall we return (Ecclesiastes 5:15), (1Timothy 6:7), (Job 1:21). Jesus teaches us to be content with life. For without life, nothing makes any meaning. Thus with food and clothing, one should be content because this is what sustains us in life and not the many riches (Matthew 6:25-34), (1Timothy 6:8). For we ought to love it for the seemingly simple fact that we can comfortably eat, breathe and feel good in our bodies. That is what life is about, most lovely being that we use the good health and the good conditions we may be living in to serve our God and others by seeking to make life meaningful to them. For it is not about how much we may own, but how we have impacted on the world. For people aren't touched by what we own or possess, but what place we take in their lives. Is this to imply resignation and laziness? No. That is not so. We must work because we are still in this world and we are oblivious of when we will leave this earth or when our Lord Christ Jesus will return. For we need to work to live on this earth and to be able to extend help to those in need. Additionally, we need resources to sustain ministry and to spread the gospel to the nations as is commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19-20). The only appeal is that we must make meaning in all we do. Much as the world uses its resources to entertain themselves with all sorts of filthy behavior, and seek to use all means to get themselves riches, those of the Lord God should use theirs to serve God. Christians must also seek to acquire riches through proper faithful ways. For the blessing of the Lord makes rich (Proverbs 10:22). We must therefore not lose heart when we are faced with difficult financial situations or whatever. For they come and go. Yet, riches must never change our view, conduct, and approach. For it is all but for this earthly life.
In context, Paul was writing from his Roman prison. The Apostle was exhorting the believers to seek contentment in the Lord regardless of circumstances. This builds upon his previous epistle to the church in Thessalonica when he wrote, " In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." (1 Thes 5:18 KJV) Paul was reminding the church that we should not seek fulfillment or contentment outside of the Lord. Which ties directly to Jesus' teaching;"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth where moth and rust doth corrupt and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust corrupt and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is your heart will be also."(Mt 6:19-21 KJV) As Christians, we should seek the will of God in all things and strive toward that end. When we do so, we will find that contentment which Paul writes of.
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