Today’s Scrip-Bit 9 July 2021 Philippians 4:12a.

Philippians 4:12a.     I know both how to be abased (suffer want), and I know how to abound:

Well at last we have awakened to the sun and not dark, cloudy skies! (smile) As they say, you never truly appreciate the sun until you’ve seen the rain…and literally too much of it. But as good believers we must learn to be contented in whatever situation we find ourselves. As Bruh Paul wrote to the Philippians from a Roman prison regarding the gift they sent him. ‘Not that I speak in respect of want (regarding need): for I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased (suffer want), and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and suffer need.’ (Phil. 4:11-12) 

Yes friends, Bruh Paul is saying that he was grateful for the financial contribution of the Philippians, but he could also have done without it, because he had learned how to be contented in times of plenty, as well as in times of scarcity. And then he added that verse we all find so easy to quote, but don’t fully understand: ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Phil. 4:13) Please note though, as the scholars explain: ‘The Greek here suggests that contentment is a lesson learned neither in a classroom nor overnight, but through many practical experiences in life.’ 

And that’s the indisputable truth my people! Contentment in all circumstances, or merely contentment itself, is a hard-earned lesson offered and majored only in the school of hard knocks, the school of life. But then again, it’s only through the grace and power of Christ that we can learn such an important lesson. Let’s never forget that aspect of it. And on the Billy Graham Evangelistic Website, I found this interesting commentary on the subject by Joy Allmond. She says: ‘It’s part of the human condition – we often want what we don’t have or what we see other people getting. Discontentment is a disease of the heart running rampant, even among the most faithful believers in Christ.’ 

Then she goes on to give some examples of discontentment, which basically break down to greed, envy, jealousy and selfish pride. And follows it up with this question, one that we can, ought to all ask ourselves. ‘Why are we so easily discontented? We could assume people in the above scenarios are too busy focusing on their circumstances and not on God.’ Now isn’t that the living truth? It certainly is. Most of our discontent comes from focusing on our circumstances and not on God and His awesome ability to change or improve them. 

Ms. Allmond then tells us a couple of ways to put our focus on where it belongs – in humility and praise. Yes friends, when we concentrate on those two areas of our spiritual lives, we won’t have time to make comparisons and become disappointed or discontented. That’s because our focus is totally concentrated on God, not the circumstances currently surrounding us. And the two biblical examples Ms. Allmond gives are first on humility, Bruh Paul’s words above to the Philippians. 

She then explains: ‘Paul wrote this letter from a Roman prison, having been incarcerated for sharing his faith. By our standards here in the United States, this is a very unfair predicament. Yet, Paul did not feel he was short of anything. He was humble to accept the circumstances he had been given, because he was humbled by the grace he had been given by God when he became a follower of Christ. He knew, at that point, that he possessed that most important thing he could ever obtain – assurance of salvation and a right relationship with his Lord.’ Now do we know that my faithful brethren in Christ? I surely hope so, otherwise we are definitely missing an essential aspect of our Christian faith. 

Then on the subject of praise, she highlights the passage of scripture where Paul and Silas are imprisoned in Philippi. ‘And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises unto God (were praying and singing songs): and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands (chains) were loosed.’ (Acts. 16:25-26) And we all know what happened afterward; no one escaped, but the jailer and his family were saved, and no doubt some of the other prisoners too, which was God’s real purpose behind the earthquake. 

Ms. Allmond’s commentary on that scripture is also interesting. ‘In this passage, Paul was imprisoned (at an earlier time), along with Silas, for spreading the Gospel. They had been stripped and beaten severely. Instead of complaining or lamenting, the two men began to sing praises to their God. It’s probably safe to say they didn’t feel like praising the Lord, but they chose to have a grateful heart. They literally “brought down the house” with their songs of praise! The floor of the prison was shaken by an earthquake, and everyone in their midst were set free (chains loosed). Not only were the other prisoners set free (chains loosed) by their praise, the heart of the jailer was changed (verses 31-40). 

It’s interesting to see that their attitude about their circumstances not only pleased God, it impacted other people – it freed them. We can become so caught up in our attitude of discontentment that it affects the people in our paths. It could even keep them from wanting to know Christ. Do you think the jailer would have been attracted to a relationship with Christ if he sensed a bitter heart in Paul and Silas? Let’s commit to freedom from the bondage of discontentment through attitudes of humility and praise. By doing this, we can do more than live the abundant life in Christ that was intended for us. We can impact the world by living this outwardly for those around us to witness.’ 

Oh my fellow saints of Christ, I could not put it any better than that. So please let’s take that wise and wonderful advice to heart nuh, for it will certainly benefit us all. And there’s no better time to begin doing that, than right now, (smile) by going to our great and wonderful God in humble prayer, acquainting Him with our problems, through our Friday Chant. 

As one strong, confident, but humble voice: ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through this past week. You know it’s been rough… what with all the anxiety, the confusion and havoc that the Covid-19 virus and the various other areas of strife are causing. We can’t seem to fix it on our own Lord, that means we desperately need your help. Oh heavenly Father, with your omnipotent help, and our trusting faith, we know that we can stand strong and steadfast and defeat both the virus and the unrest in our streets. 

So Lord, we sincerely ask you today to give the governments and those involved in the forefront of this serious and unexpected storm, the wise guidance to handle the situation properly, with the least amount of loss to life and property as possible. And please help those of us who must go out to work amidst all the confusion, to be responsible and to stay safe, and avoid any more serious setbacks. And Lord, we fervently pray that You’ll use this situation to bring a lot of backsliders back to your fold, show them the error of their ways. 

And please introduce a whole new flock, who will embrace your LOVE and compassion by the example, we, your faithful believers set. Yes Lord, please use this pandemic and the unrest in the streets as a means of restoring faith in You, so that our sinful world can wake up and smell the coffee, sweet and strong! We pray this in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen!’  

Now that all sounds wonderful, but please remember that unless we do change our evil ways, and become truly faithful believers, our prayer will not be positively answered. Much LOVE!

…the Lord searches our hearts…for right and sincere motives…before He answers our prayers…                                                                                           

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8    

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