Philippians 4:10-23 | Meeting Your Needs
10I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
- If our contentment is truly in Christ, (since he is the goal for which we strive) then we can be content whatever the circumstances
- Paul says he has learned to be content, and that is something we should grow up in too. How easily do we strive for the wrong things or insist that our circumstances should be better, when there is an inner contentment to be gained despite it all
- Ultimately it is God who gives us his strength, therefore in all testing circumstances where we might say “I can’t do this/I can’t cope” we can say that we CAN do all things through Him who gives us strength
- We find that God does not need to meet all of our needs, but that we learn to be content despite our circumstances. So Christians should not use this in a manner consistent with the prosperity gospel.
- Yet this is neither an endorsement for the ‘poverty gospel’, since Paul says he has known lack and plenty – the key bit here is contentment that rises above it all
14Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. 17Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. 18I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
- Paul shows that the Philippians ‘shared in his troubles’ by supporting him financially. They helped carry some of the burden somewhat with the support they could offer
- Giving and receiving is something that we share in, no that we only give or only receive but there is both
- Just as the Philippians gave to Paul to support him, he encourages them that they will receive what they need from God – he uses the idea of an account and credit, that as we give out we can expect God, through others to give in. ‘Credited to your account’ could also infer that Paul wished the Philippians to be ‘spiritually rewarded’, or for God to look with favour on their gifts.
- Our goal then as the church of God is to open our eyes to the needs around us, seeking to participate in filling those needs whilst trusting that God will satisfy our needs
- This is an act of fellowship and strengthens the body of Christ, as we give and receive acts of love to each other
20To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
21Greet all God’s people in Christ Jesus. The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. 22All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.
23The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
- Paul finishes by reminding the Philippians and us that all is for God’s glory
- His final words are common across his letters and remind us that we are spiritual beings, that our bodies are finite and will die away but our spirits will live forever (in new bodies) . Therefore we place the things of faith and spiritual truth higher than all things.
Just as God provides us with a ‘peace that passes all understanding’ so He also provides for our needs. God continues to supply for our needs through the body of Christ. He is the one who truly strengthens us, so that in plenty or lack we can do all things through His strength.
At the end of a hard and gritty calling, we can be left encouraged that God will lead us forward in peace, strengthen us and meet our needs as we trust in Him.