“I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound; everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ Jesus which strengthens me” (Philippians 4:12-13).
The apostle Paul never told anyone that he was “blessed and highly favored,” a common expression today, he did not have to he knew it and he lived it. Christians enjoy status, wealth and access to the things that make us feel good and if we can not get that good feeling from things we turn to people like us. The idea of being abased, being made to feel small or degraded, is beyond our educated comprehension. We have homes, cars, degrees, positions and friends in high places that make sure we abound, we have things in large numbers and great quantities, including accolades, adoration and reputations.
It is not unreasonable that any of us would want to abound but who wants to be abased and suffer need? If Paul’s commentary had ended here, it would be simple to just go on and abound. However, Paul clouds the issue of self-esteem, abundance and need for Christians when he says “I know how” continuing he goes on to say; “I am instructed.” Knowing how suggests that he has the necessary knowledge and I am instructed suggests the learning process continues. Like Paul, our life experiences teach us many valuable lessons, but we should never be so wise or experienced that we are not open to further instructions.
This is the same Paul that had a life altering encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus and the same Paul God told “my grace is sufficient for you.” Paul is telling us that I have been down and I have been up, I have been made to feel small and insignificant as well as important. I have been somebody and nobody, well-fed and hungry I have experienced abundance and need. Our life experiences provide teaching opportunities for Jesus to instruct us in the things He would have us to know and do. Applying the blessing of Jesus’ instructions insure that we will know both how to be abased and how to abound, everywhere in all things .
“Give to the Lord, O families of the peoples, Give to the Lord glory and strength. Give to the Lord the glory due His name; bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” (1 Chronicles 16:28-29). As a testament of our faith in God we are to live each day the same, I was blessed yesterday, I am blessed today and I will be blessed tomorrow, I am living the blessing. Paul knew that he was blessed with the ability, power and wisdom to do whatever life required of him at any time. He could cope with humiliation, adoration, nourishment and starvation as parts of a greater whole, a life anchored in the belief that Jesus is all I need. “I can do all things through Christ Jesus which strengthens me” not by Jesus, not before or after Jesus, but through Christ Jesus, Jesus is the blessing.
You are blessed and highly favored, God demands that it shows in your life, everywhere, every day and in everything. Children of God have no reason to have a poverty mindset, welfare mindset or any other mindset that cause you to live as if you were without His sufficiency. There is no need to be poor, in faith, spirit or power to have what God said you can have. Christ sacrificed himself that you may have life and life more abundantly, if you would only live it that way, “Our sufficiency is in Christ Jesus.”
Be blessed and bless someone in Jesus’ name as we celebrate this Thanksgiving Day. Thank the Lord and give Him your praise for saving you by faith and clothing you in Christ’s righteousness. We have so much to be thankful for. Oh, how great is Your goodness, Which You have laid up for those who fear You, Which You have prepared for those who trust in You In the presence of the sons of men! (Psalm 31:19).
Grady Norman Greene, Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Our Christ
- In Remembrance of These things (thethirdcross.wordpress.com)
- The Forgotten Holiday (mainwriters.com)