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TToday’s reading: Philippians 3-4
I can do all things through him who strengthens me. - Philippians 4:13
This familiar verse is commonly seen as a sort of spiritual Superman suit to empower a person to do something he couldn’t otherwise do. While I do believe that if God calls you to it, He’ll get you through it, that’s not what this verse is about...at all.
In the preceding verses, Paul speaks of his circumstances: “. . . 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.” - Philippians 4:11-12
So this empowering verse is about contentment in poverty or wealth. Paul was able to be content, whether in want or wealth, because his eyes were not fixed on this earth, or the pleasures of the flesh, but on Christ. That’s how he said, “for me to live is Christ, to die is gain.” (Phil. 1:21)
American culture is idolatrously materialistic. I frequently have found myself dreaming the American dream. But God is teaching me to be content with His provisions. Instead of dreaming the American dream, I am finding myself dreaming more and more about dwelling, not in my own luxurious accommodations, but in His presence. The things of this world will never satisfy our deepest longings, and a pursuit of them often reveals pride and idolatry.
I’ve honed in on a prayer sung by Sidewalk Prophets in their song, “To Live is Christ” (song link in comments). The lyrics include, “If I grow, let me grow in You. Wilt the seeds of wanting more, ripping pride out by the roots.” Ultimately, we find all we’ll ever need in Him—knowing, as Paul knew, “ my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 4:19
Daily Devotions by Britt Green, Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church of Eclectic