Philippians 4:10-14 Devotional Commentary

Content and grateful: Devotional Commentary for March 20-26

Philippians 4:10-14 (NKJV)

This is the Word of God. May the Spirit of Truth give us wisdom and insight to receive what has been conveyed through His Word by His Inspiration.

4:10-14
10But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity.
11Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:
12I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
13I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
14Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress.

In our last meditation, we learned that Paul taught the Philippians to be: filled with the joy of the Lord and the peace of God, free from worry and anxiety, thankful in their prayers, and virtuous in their ways. But he also added that the Christian journey is beyond merely being virtuous. A virtuous Christian is also generous and lives in uncomplaining contentment.

Paul appreciated the Philippians for their generosity toward him even though they did not have the occasion to express it in real-time. But Paul was content to know they cared enough to show him kindness. He was certain that they would minister to him if they were given a chance. They were indeed virtuous and generous. That was enough for Paul because he was content with his condition whatever it was.

Paul acknowledged his indebtedness to the Philippians. But he was careful to affirm that his commendation was not influenced by their kindness to him. His joy was still in the Lord. His confidence was still in God. He was grateful but never for selfish reasons.

Paul's praise of the generosity of the Philippians did not come out of a grateful attitude due to needs that were met. His words of commendation were inspired. He commended the Philippians not because they met his needs, but to show that kindness is one of the essential traits of a virtuous Christian. Paul was always content with whatever condition in which he found himself, whether that was in destitution or in affluence. He always trusted God. He was a man of faith.

There was very little that Paul did not experience. He had been humbled by need and had been blessed with abundance. Yet he was content in all circumstances. Paul was able to face the changing challenges of life in Christ Jesus Who was his strength. He did everything in Jesus Christ Who enabled him to do everything and to be content in all things. He was satisfied in his Lord.

Nevertheless, Paul appreciated what his friends in Philippi had done for him. Even though Paul had expressed his total dependence on Christ’s strength, he was very careful to thank the Philippians for the charity they showed. Paul's contentment did not diminish the significance of the charitable attitude of the Philippians. So Paul was both content and grateful.

Notes/Applications

As God’s appointed Ambassador of the Gospel, Paul was always careful to delineate the truth so that the essence of his teaching would not get confused with ideas that are different but sound the same. As the founder of the Philippian congregation, he took great care in helping the Philippians understand the significance of their conduct as Christians in light of their relationship with God. In the opening verses of this chapter, Philippians four, Paul instructed the Philippians to deal with the conflict within the church. To be sure, he also exhorted them to be thankful, faithful, and virtuous believers as they make their petitions and praises known to God through prayer.

After commending them for their generosity, Paul took great care in showing the significance of their kindness apart from his response to them. Paul did not show ingratitude nor did he deny the significance of their gift to him. However, he underscored both the generosity of the Philippians and his own self-sufficiency as the means of God's provision and the expression of His strength in His children's weakness.

Both are responses to the teachings of the Holy Spirit. He wanted the Philippians to understand that their generosity must primarily be viewed as obedience to God. By the same token, his own self-sufficiency was also God’s unfailing providence. The generosity of the Philippians was a way of life cultivated in them by the Holy Spirit. The same behavior was also used to provide for Paul, God’s servant. Obedience to the Lord should not be confused with human goodwill. Neither should self-sufficiency be mistaken for one’s resilience or prudence. The conduct of the believer and the actions of the child of God must always be authored and directed by God, through His Word by the Holy Spirit.

Here at Practical Christianity Foundation we believe that God has mercifully extended His Grace toward us and has given us His living and Holy Word to guide us in our journey in this world. We count it privilege to come alongside you and minister to you through prayer and the sharing of God's living and holy Word. Please contact us if you have any questions concerning your faith and journey as a Christian.

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