The Secret of Facing Need Part 2
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
There we were above the clouds and we could see all the way back to Kansas.
We were overcome by the majestic view of God’s creation, and both of us prayed and gave our lives to God.
The peace that came over me is beyond my ability to describe.
But that is the peace that God gives His children even though nothing may have changed.
The storm may still be raging.
Although the storm has not abated something has changed in the individual.
Something has happened to the human soul and the human mind.
In our anxiety we want God to change everything around us; instead, He changes us.
Prayer is the secret of power.
We enter with worry, we come out in peace.
This is the way to respond to need.
The fourth way we are told to respond to need is by being positive.
Verse 8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Think positively, not negatively!
Think spiritual thoughts.
Think high thoughts, honest thoughts, thoughts worthy of respect, and live by God’s standards.
Think agreeable, loving, and pure thoughts.
Carefully reflect on these thoughts and keep practicing them!
These are the thoughts, and this is the life that the God of peace will bless!
Next, Paul says that we need to be teachable.
He said in verse 9, “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do…”
The Lord has a purpose for the need in your life.
Another word for “do” is practice.
Paul said something here that would be foolhardy if I said it: “Do what I do.”
I don’t want my grandchildren; Chloe, Deacon, Manny, Justus, Colton, and Kara to follow down the pathway I went.
I don’t want them to have their grandpa for an example.
But Paul could make his life an example to other believers.
He could do it because he had made Christ the very center of his life.
Sometimes the Lord uses a need to develop us.
What happens to us is not as important as how we respond to what happens.
The Lord is developing spiritual qualities in our lives.
In this chapter, we have discovered several of these qualities: gratefulness (v. 6), joyfulness (v. 10), contentment (v. 11), flexibility (v.12), and faith (v.13).
What quality is he developing in you?
Sometimes the Lord uses a need to improve us.
A need that we have may cause us to search our hearts and ask the Lord, “What’s wrong?”
Sometimes the Lord uses a need to test us.
When we have a need and the funds for it are not available, the Lord may be testing us.
Whatever our need, and whatever God’s purpose, we are to thank him.
Paul also said that we are to be content.
Verse 10 says, “…I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content.”
It didn’t matter whether he was in prison or out of prison.
Many of us think that if things are going right and if we are in the right place, then we will be contented.
That means that we are depending on the circumstances of life for our contentment.
But Paul had learned to be content regardless of his circumstances.
Contentment is an attitude that none of us possesses naturally.
It is something we have to learn.
Paul learned it: he had not always known it.
Our natural inclination is not to learn to be content.
Rather, it is to complain about our circumstances or to covet what we do not have.
Contentment is realizing that God has provided everything we need for our present happiness.
The opposite is covetousness, lusting for more and more.
We are also to be expectant.
“…I can do all things in him who strengthens me” (v.13).
This is one of the greatest verses in the Bible.
This verse is positive and personal: Paul declares, “I can.”
It is powerful, for he says, “…do all things.”
When Paul says all things, does he literally mean all things?
Does it mean you can go outside and jump over your house?
Of course not.
Paul says, “I can do all things in Christ,” that is, in the context of the will of God for your life.
Whatever Christ has in mind for you to do, He will supply the power to do it.
Whatever gift He gives you, He will give you the power to exercise that gift.
Christ is the One who will strengthen you and enable you to do all that is in His will for you.
In the face of your need, you can be defeated, or you can be expectant of the victory Jesus gives.
Then Paul says you are to be generous.
In verses 14-18, Paul complimented the Philippian Church for their generosity.
They were close to the Apostle Paul; for they were the ones who had supported him-Paul was their missionary.
Wouldn’t you love to have had Paul as your missionary and to have had a part in his support?
In time of need, we tend to be stingy; but the key to being truly fulfilled and satisfied is to be giving, even if we have needs.
Finally, Paul says we are to be fulfilled.
“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (v. 19).
All our need is supplied and satisfied.
God’s treatment of the Philippians will correspond to their treatment of Paul.
This is the divine principle of giving and receiving.
But notice, when Paul says all your needs, he doesn’t include luxury items.
However, God does supply luxury items many times.
When He does, it is surplus.
He does it out of His loving-kindness.
What about your needs?
How are you responding to them?
What are you doing with them?
We need to take our eyes off the financial page and put them on God.
Paul wrote in God’s Word, “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Jesus Christ” (v. 19).