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. Philippians 4:12-13
At times, Philippians 4:13 (I can do all things through him who strengthens me) can almost seem like a trivial verse because it is quoted so frequently in a multitude of situations. But, when you put it into its context, it becomes so much more powerful. Look at the circumstances Paul describes: plenty, hunger, abundance, and need. That pretty much covers everyone. Certainly, you have known most of these at one point or another. There is a danger in each one of these situations that must be addressed.
How can having plenty be a danger? It can be so easy to depend on self and forget about any dependence on God in times of plenty. Making ourselves into the god is just simply wrong and will be a downfall every time it happens. It is easier to imagine the dangers of hunger and the resulting pain. But, be careful--hunger can lead to self-dependence as well. When you get into that needy state, it is very easy to try to take things into your own hands and do things that are not godly out of desperation. The dangers are very similar. While plenty and hunger show these realities in food, abundance and need show them in other material items.
When Paul talks about knowing how to be brought low and how to abound he is making a huge statement--It really doesn’t matter to him. He is not saying one is good and the other is bad. He is saying that in either situation he has come to know how to lean on the one who strengthens him. He can face all circumstances and situations through Him who strengthens him. He knows victory in all possible scenarios--In God!!
Too often we do not live out of the reality that we have the same God strengthening us. It is not very fun to be hungry, in need, or to lose the game. In essence, it doesn’t really matter because God is strengthening you. It can be distracting to have plenty and have an abundance. In essence it doesn’t really matter because God is strengthening you.
In what situations do you need to repent of succumbing to the dangers you face? What are the challenges in front of you? Do you know that you are strengthened in all of them and that you can abound no matter what? Pray that God would allow you to know his strengthening presence in all of your situations. Turn yourself over to that strengthening relationship and experience God in totally satisfying ways!!