Barry Drayton is a Pastor with the Full Gospel Churches of Australia -
He can be contacted by clicking on the link below
|Updated - 10 March 2005|
|A Person of Influence
MISSION: to give God the glory at all times, in all things.
INTEGRITY GUIDELINE: how would I like to be treated in this situation?
Philippians 4 : 11 - 13
Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.
The above verses cannot be separated as there is an absolute relationship between experiencing life’s lows and enjoying its highs. Here the Apostle Paul is resting on the assurance that his strength is in God alone. He understood that confidence and contentment gave him the stability in every situation he encountered in his tumultuous life. Contentment is taking our present situation – whatever obstacles we are facing, whatever limitations we are living with, whatever chronic condition wears us down, whatever factors and circumstances in life tend to push us under – and admitting we do not like it but NEVER saying, “I can’t cope with it”.
Paul could do exactly that – oh, that I could. Paul felt distress, but he never felt despair. He felt down trodden, but he never felt defeated. Paul made it clear there are unlimited resources, and that as soon as we say, “I can’t cope” – we are failing to draw on these resources that Christ has readily, by his loving kindness, made available to us. Contentment therefore is the confidence we can measure up to any test we face because Christ has made His strength available within each of us.
Helen Keller said, “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” In other words, we need to be ‘stretched’.
A great example of this is the humble rubber band. It is absolutely useless until it is stretched – it has no reason or purpose. When insecurity stops us from stretching and growing, we end up with a life that is as unexciting and useless as a limp rubber band. It may sound a little like ‘living on the edge’ and it is – it is God’s edge. Can we do as Paul did and learn the secret of living in any situation, whether with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little? We may be able to relate to living with little now, or at some stage in our life, but very few of us can truly claim to have lived with an empty stomach – that is in true hunger, not just missing a meal. Nonetheless, we will do better to remember our strength is in God alone.