“I have all, and abound; I am full” (Philippians 4:18).
One of life’s most annoying things for me is to get in my car, after someone else has driven it, and find the gas gauge resting on “E.” That is not the condition I left it the last time I was behind the wheel, I cannot believe my eyes, I am disappointed. There are similar things in the world of the spirit. The last time I visited one friend in particular it was a great visit, I could see and feel the presence of the Spirit in his life he was filled with it. Recently I was blessed with a visit from the same friend and it reminded me of my gas gauge, spiritually he was resting on “E.”
How can we otherwise explain some of the experiences of the apostle Paul? His visits and letters to the churches and congregations of Asia are filled with praise and hope for the presence of the Spirit of God to remain after his first contact. Sadly, Paul would receive news of new Christians behaving poorly and the presence of the Spirit missing in their lives. When he left they were full now they are empty. This is a common experience in today’s congregations or the lives of modern Christians, one day filled with the Spirit thirty days later sitting on empty.
“Not that I speak in respect of want, for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4: 11). Paul is in captivity at Rome for no appreciable crime other than preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The supreme mission of his life appears to be broken and his heart aches for the congregations that were formed as a result of his missionary work. But it is in this very setting that Paul begins to show his faith in the bright and fascinating glory of Jesus Christ. He reveals an inner strength and beauty that can only be found when you are filled with the Spirit. The words of promise Jesus spoke opened treasures he had never seen before.
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4: 19). Among those treasures were such wonderful things as the grace of Christ, the love of Christ, the joy and peace of Christ; and it seemed as though they needed an “emptying gloom” to draw out their secrets and their inner glory. The presence of gloom and impending doom became a source of revelation, and Paul began to realize as never before the range and wealth of his spiritual inheritance. Have you checked your spiritual gauge today?
“I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Who has not known men and women who, when they arrive at periods of gloom and doom, put on strength and hopefulness like a fine garment? You may imprison Christian folk like these where you please, but you shut up their treasure with them. You cannot shut it out. You may remove their material possessions, but the emptiness of the wilderness of the solitary place is made full. They do not focus on the gauge, they rejoice in the substance that moves the gauge from empty to full.
Whatever life struggle you may be going through today let you spirit blossom because “Whoso offereth praise glorify Me,” and your hearts shall be filled. Sorrow may last for the night but joy comes in the morning. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Grady Norman Greene, Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Our Christ