Useful Bible Studies > Philippians Commentary > chapter 4

How to be content in every circumstance

Philippians 4:12

It is interesting to compare Paul’s words here with the prayer of Agur in Proverbs 30:7-9. Agur prayed that God would never cause him either to become rich, or to become poor. He believed that it would ruin his relationship with God to be in either of these situations.

Paul, on the other hand, had learned how to trust God in each and every situation. He was content whether he was rich or poor. His power to live in every circumstance came from Christ, not from himself (4:13).

We cannot imagine that Paul was ever truly rich at any time during his Christian life. His life was very hard, and his troubles seem almost constant (2 Corinthians 11:23-33). However, there were periods of time when Paul’s life was much more comfortable. One of those was when Paul was establishing the church at Philippi. There, Paul and his companions stayed with a rich woman called Lydia. Lydia was a trader in purple cloth, which was very valuable at that time (Acts 16:12-15).

Usually, however, Paul was poor (2 Corinthians 6:4-5). Sometimes he did not even have enough food, but he gladly trusted God to provide for him. He knew that he had the right to demand money from the churches (1 Corinthians 9:1-18). However, he chose not to use that right. Paul chose that life because the gospel, God’s message about Christ, mattered so much to him. He wanted to be able to offer the gospel freely to everyone.

Paul did not believe that it is wrong to be rich or comfortable. Each person must live the life that God has given to him. So, each person must learn to serve God in the situation where God has placed that person.

Next part: 'I can do all things through Christ' (Philippians 4:13)


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