Which one of us is not affected by the need to succeed at some level? Maybe it is success defined by career or family or knowledge or possessions or other desires, but success is always out there, isn’t it?
Many times I have heard someone say in relation to succeeding in life – “I can do all things through Christ!” That is certainly true, but when you read Philippians 4: 10-13 in context, Paul is speaking of the supernatural contentment found only in Christ regardless of whether or not we are at the pinnacle of success – however it may be defined.
I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for 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. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Consider these four points:
- Paul’s life was not dependent on his circumstances.
- Paul was teachable and learned dependence on Christ in every situation.
- Paul’s flexibility in abundance and need helped him learn the secret of contentment.
- Paul was content and confident in Christ who gave him the strength to meet every day.
The contentment Paul describes is not some sort of ability to survive in spite of his circumstances, but the success of thriving in our everyday life in Christ.
A.W. Tozer expressed the alternative this way – “The man who is elated by success and is cast down by failure is still a carnal man. At best his fruit will have a worm in it.: