For The Kingdom: Joy-Filled Living In Difficult Days | Day 67
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me…. And my God will supply all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:11-13)
Everyone loves the inspiration and motivation of Philippians 4:13… “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Wow! I can climb that mountain, achieve that dream, pursue that prize because of the supernatural power of Jesus Christ surging through my veins like a spiritual Red Bull!
In the context of Paul’s closing thoughts to the Church in Philippi, however, this passage had a very different meaning and intent. Paul uses this powerful truth to bridge two very practical and potent ideas:
1. I (Paul) can be content in whatever situation and abound in every circumstance… through Christ who strengthens me. (see v. 11-13)
2. You (the Church) can give sacrificially and generously to the Kingdom of God because … “God will supply your every need.” (see v. 14-19)
Paul commends the church for their giving spirit and the revival of their love and concern for him. While other churches he started had neglected to partner with him in ministry, Paul had seen God take care of his needs in a variety of ways, including the giving of the Philippians.
Have you ever thought, “I would like to give my tithe to church” or “support that ministry or missionary” but, “I just don’t have the financial resources to pull it off right now”? Perhaps, you have even told the missionary or ministry asking you for support, “I can’t help you right now, but have faith, God will provide for you!” Where does your own personal, Philippians 4:13 come into play with that statement? Weren’t you just saying that you could do “all things” through Christ who strengthens you? Does that not include trusting God to provide for you, as He uses you to provide for His Kingdom work?
Paul doubles down on this truth by assuring the church in Philippi that they can give unreservedly because“my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (v. 19) God people following God’s call to go must be supported by God’s people following God’s call to give. What happens when God’s people hold back from giving generously and sacrificially because they are afraid they will not have enough? The mission and the ministry suffer. Here is the reality-
The simple fact of the matter is that when we allow fear, selfishness or undisciplined spending (stewardship) to prevent us from giving obediently and generously, we are cutting off God’s resources from the mission field. Philippians 4:13 has far more to do with your giving than your achieving. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” is written for those who are giving generously and obediently, even though they are not sure how they will make it. If you who are thinking, “I’ve never actually tithed before, and I don’t know if I can really afford to give the Lord the 10% of my income that belongs to Him.” This verse is for you! Will you begin to give generously and obediently to the Lord and trust that your “God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (v.19) We can sum up Paul’s philosophy of giving this way-
Even if it means you have to learn to be content with less in the here and now, you can live and give for the glory of God, forever and ever. What if you made it your personal goal to give more to the Kingdom than ever before and to increase that amount every year moving forward? What if you decided to be a better steward of your resources and give sacrificially to something that will matter for eternity?
When you closely evaluate your spending, you may discover there are times in your spirit when you a little embarrassed by how you spend your money. Be assured of this, you will never feel ashamed or embarrassed about the money you give back to the Lord. At the end of our days, we will not reflect on our lives and say, “I wish I had not been so generous to the Kingdom” or, “I wish I had not trusted the Lord with my finances so much.” You can give radically, because God will supply richly. In the process, you will get the joy of saying with Paul, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” (v. 11)