Philippians 4 is one of those chapters absolutely jam-packed with promises from God. Philippians 4:6-7 offers us the model for prayer which can transform us from nervous wrecks into peaceful people and Philippians 4:8 gives us the key to victory by showing us where to focus our thoughts. In the rest of the chapter, we looked this morning at three further verses which show us how to change how we live and which, if assimilated into our lives, lead us into freedom and satisfaction.
I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation. (Phil 4:12)
I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Phil 4:13)
My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:19)
These three verses contain great and precious promises (see 2 Pet 1:3-4) which have the power to transform how we live.
Paul’s thanks to the Philippians for their financial support are given in the context that he has learned that happiness is not bound up in possessions or favourable circumstances. He knows that riches are no substitute for God (see Luke 12:15, 1 Tim 6:10) and that joy is not dependent on good circumstances (he is writing the letter from prison, after all!) Satisfaction can only be found in God, and we do well to let go of our need for material things to keep us content as well as our need for control. Paul has found satisfaction in God – and we can too. Ps 131 gives us the picture of quiet contentment found in a weaned child; sometimes, we need to quieten our souls and be still before God.
The secret to contentment lies in dwelling in Christ, rather than trying to obtain satisfaction ourselves in our own strength. All the blessings God promises His people come as we dwell in Him. These include eternal life (Rom 6:23), freedom from condemnation (Rom 8:1), holiness (1 Cor 1:2), freedom (Gal 2:4) and acceptance in God’s family (Gal 3:26) These promises and blessings are available to each one of us, and when we live according to who we are in Christ Jesus, we also have access to all the strength and power of the Godhead. (Eph 1:19-21) Contentment is possible because we have access to all of God’s strength and power. We don’t have to run on empty. We don’t have to do it in our own strength. We can come to God and be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. (Eph 6:10)
Many of us spend a lot of time trying to meet all our needs or trying to meet the needs of other people. No matter how good, kind, generous or rich we are, there will come a point when we run out of what is needed. The secret to living well, however, is knowing that God never runs out. There is no need we can have which He cannot meet. As the Passion Translation of Phil 4:19 says, ‘I am convinced that my God will fully satisfy every need you have, for I have seen the abundant riches of glory revealed to me through the Anointed One, Jesus Christ!’ When we fully see God in all the abundant riches of His glory, we know that there is no good thing He will withhold from us and can live without fear or anxiety (see Ps 84:11, Ps 37:4).