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Philippians 4:12: I Have Learned the Secret


Philippians 4:12
[12] 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. (ESV)

If you are reading this devotional today from somewhere in the United States of America there is a very good chance that you have not learned the secret of being brought low, facing hunger or need. I am not saying that you have not faced any of those, but in comparison to much of the world we have far more abundance than most.

The Apostle Paul was writing to believers who would have known what persecution was about. The Roman Empire could be a very dangerous place. Paul gives his account of dealing with all that life threw at him. He knew hunger. He knew what being brought low meant. He knew need. Listen to his account in 2 Corinthians:

2 Corinthians 11:23–28
[23] . . . with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. [24] Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. [25] Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; [26] on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; [27] in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. [28] And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. (ESV)

Paul has told us in today's verse that he has learned the secret of facing all things. It would seem to be safe to say that the majority of Paul's life circumstances were negative. Even his writing of this verse comes from a prison cell. Paul knows that his life is all about his relationship with Jesus Christ. Because he has eternal hope he can face all kinds of circumstances on this earth.

What kinds of circumstances get you down? Your job? Family pressures? Finances? Health? Physical danger? Look to Christ. He will give you the ability to face everything that life throws at you.

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