Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 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 4:8-13
I have always admired these words of the Apostle Paul. Here was a man tasked by God to spread the Gospel and establish His church in the Gentile world. There was much to celebrate in seeing newborn Christians, filled with Spirit, establish church communities and give their all for the Gospel. Yet for every great celebration of a heartfelt worship service, large scale baptism, and Spirit-filled communion, there would be bickering, infiltration of false doctrine, and those who simply would turn away from the faith. There would be times of great harvest and financial blessing, and times of great drought and struggle to make ends meet. Yet Paul learned not to speak from want, but to be content in whatever circumstances may come.
These are great words of wisdom that we all should consider. There are times when we feel abundance and others when we are suffering need. Yet it is imperative that we dwell on those things that are honorable, right, pure, lovely, excellent, and of good repute. What possible could fit such a description? The only answer to that question is the character, will, and work of God. Indeed, and hope, faith, and love of God is the great equalizer to our circumstances. For with Him, we have a victory and assurance that transcends the quantities and qualities of this world. He reminds us that if we seek He and His righteousness first, that all that we worry about will be handled. Indeed, while we don’t necessarily like “all things” that come our way, we can do “all things” through Christ who strengthens us.
-- Pastor Justin
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