Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 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 through Christ, who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:11-14 NLT). Paul wrote these words from a dark, dank prison with open sewage running under his feet. The Philippian church had given him a monetary gift, and his letter of thanks and encouragement to them was invaluable, as they, too, faced the very persecution for which he was imprisoned. How could he be grateful to God, while rats and stench and all manner of prison horrors surrounded him?
Paul said he learned how to be content with whatever he had—a lot or a little. The word “learned” means specifically “to learn from experience”. He came from a wealthy Jewish family. It’s doubtful he ever knew hunger or poverty or homelessness, and certainly not prison before becoming a follower of Christ. Paul had the finest education available and became a professor and a Pharisee, just like his father. Reality hit when he met Jesus Christ on the Road to Damascus and had a radical conversion of faith.
All the comforts of a wealthy life were gone, and his reason for existing was Christ alone. He lived and moved and had his being in Christ, right down into that horrible prison enclosure. No matter what was required of him—preaching, teaching, praying, healing the sick, or serving time in prison for loving Jesus—Paul learned from experience that Jesus Christ would give him the strength to do it. Whether he had a little or a lot, Paul had enough.
When we have Christ, we have enough. Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10 ESV).
© 2021, Chris Werre