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Philippians, Chapter Four, Lesson Two

LEARNING TO BE CONTENT           Page 5
V.11 (cont'd.)

** Paul has just said in V.10 that he greatly rejoices in the Lord that the Philippians would desire to help him. Does that mean he was speaking out of want or a void that was in his life?

No - not at all! Literally, Paul said, "not that I speak according to want". His praise for the saints in Philippi had nothing to do with his condition.

** According to Paul, are we born with contentment or do we gain it supernaturally at the moment of our salvation?

No - it is a "learned" skill! This is yet another area of our life that can become more Christlike as we mature in our walk with the Lord.

** According to the end of this verse, what effect do our circumstances have upon our contentment?

Absolutely none! That is a very challenging standard. In "whatever" circumstance we find ourselves, we should be able to maintain the same level of contentment.

V.12 ** Now, in verse 12, Paul expands his "whatever circumstances" of verse 11 to include a broad range of human experience. What are the three sets of extremes to which he refers?

Humble means (poverty)
Prosperity (wealth)

Being filled (lit. fattening animals)
Going hungry (a drastic shortage of food)

Having abundance (more than you could ever need)
Suffering need (experiencing painful shortages)

V.13 ** These broad categories of extreme opposites in the human condition should be met with the same level of contentment. In the middle of that list Paul refers to a secret he had learned - one that enabled him to learn contentedness, what is that secret according to verse 13?

"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." Paul did not care about his circumstances because his focus and total dependency was bound up in the person of Jesus Christ!

All see - 2Corinthians 11:23-28, compare with:

2Corinthians 12:9 "power perfected in weakness"
Ephesians 3:16 "be strengthened with power"
Colossians 1:10-11a "strengthened with all power"
John 15:5 "apart from Me, you can do nothing"

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