“Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where 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 which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:9-13 KJV
The Bible has given us such a great view on life. As much as we think we know and as much as we think we’ve been through, there is still someone in a worse situation; there is always someone who have had to deal with the issue much longer than we have. Even the way out or the way of escape for similar situations can look drastically different from one to another.
Despite our story the bible tells us “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” James 1:22-25 NIV
Many of us have been in the care and company of others where people have made an effort to care for us. Whether it be our parents, relatives, friends, children, strangers, even our enemies. We’ve also noticed those who are careful in the way that they handle us, like they are handling a fragile package that needs a special kind of care. We’ve also seen those who had a special heart for us and desired to care for us but didn’t have the opportunity to do so, whether it be a lack of time or resources or their own current situation. Despite our position of need, we may come across those situations in life where we will observe the desire of others to express care toward us.
But when that opportunity arises, so does another issue. There are some whose intentions to provide care or an open door for us, are not genuine, or selfless, but rather for their own selfish intentions or hidden benefits. Does the Bible teach us how to handle that too? The answer is yes. Paul teaches us about these situations while drawing reference to the situation that was occurring while he was in prison. The scripture says “It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,” Philippians 1:15-18 NIV
When we dedicate our lives to God, we take self out of it, so whatever we do and our accomplishments in life, is all for the Glory of God, so that his name will be recognized and praised throughout the nation; while we flourish in the experience receiving the associated blessings. But for some it is not enough as children of God to just be vessels, and to grow in maturity and experience the blessings of God; some desire to have the credit and praise too, for themselves. But even then we should be careful not to turn away from what God has set-up for us and the doors that he has opened due to the selfish intentions or motives of others. Let is remember what truly matters. God does not need for us to fight his battles; he is perfectly capable. “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ …” Acts 17:24-28 NIV. We are not held responsible for others who want to take his praise for themselves, let’s not take it personal. And even then, whatever situation we’re in, the Bible tells us that we should be content. Content knowing that God is in control and that he is orchestrating the very direction of our lives. Nothing is too hard for him and he has proven time and time again that in an instant, when we least expect it, everything can change.
Change is a big word. Philippians 4:12 says that we are instructed to be both full and hungry as well as to be in plenty and be in need. How can we be both at the same time? Well, there is a difference between being content and comfortable. Content is to be satisfied and at peace, happy with wherever God has you for the time being. It is the essence of being full. But comfortable, is to be free from contraints, physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, economically, you name it. It is also a freedom from hope. What does that sound like to you? It is definitely not the essence of being hungry. Rather, to be hungry means that you are hopeful. Romans 15:13 NIV says “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” So although we are full/content with where God has us, we are hungry/hopeful as we trust in God.
We serve a living God. A God who is ever moving, constantly causing the stories of our lives to fall into place. So we believe in him and we hope for what he has in store for us, and we know that we will do great things in his name and we will become all that we can be, just because we have been given the authority to ask for it in his name.
Jesus said “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” John 14:12-13 NIV. This is what strengthens us, our full yet hungry spirit, which allows us the benefit of doing all things through Christ so that God the father may be glorified through the son that lives within us.