Spiritual Growth; May 18, 2019

Philippians 4:12-13 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Verse 13 is widely quoted, mostly out of context. Frankly, a lot of people don’t want to have it true of them, because they don’t want to deal with the negative things Paul mentions in verse 12. That’s why “prosperity gospel” preachers are so popular: people want to be told that life in Christ is Easy Street. However, that’s not the way God planned it, because God didn’t want spoiled brats for children. God wants us to trust Him, and He wants us to learn how to stand firm against the devil, who comes to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10:10) Paul himself had some pretty strict training in this area, and he was eventually martyred. In it all, he learned the reality of what God told him when he had a health issue: God’s grace was all he really needed. (2 Corinthians 12:9) We don’t like to hear that! We like verses like Malachi 3:10 that talk about “the windows of heaven” being opened so that we receive more than we can hold. God can do that, and He does it when it’s in our best interest, but as has been said, He’s far more interested in our character than our comfort.

This is an uncomfortable passage for me to deal with right now, when my wife is having to deal with severe pain. She wrote me this morning that the pain feels worse than it was before the surgery, but she doesn’t remember that exactly the same thing happened after she had her first back surgery 3 ½ years ago. Her surgeon is supposed to be back from Canada today, but the devil is telling her he won’t be in to see her until Monday. Whether or not that’s the case, she needs to release everything to God and trust Him. That’s easy for me to say, when I’m not the one in pain! With a wedding this afternoon I won’t be able to go see her today, (the hospital is over an hour away by car) so my challenge is to help her feel loved and encouraged long distance. I can’t do that on my own, but going back to this passage, I can do it through the One who strengthens me.

Father, thank You that Your grace is unchanging, and that it is indeed sufficient. Help Cathy and me receive that grace in the abundance with which You supply it, so that we may grow as You intend and so be the children You desire, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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