There is something profoundly holy about learning to be lowly.
11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased, 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 to suffer need.
13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
– Philippians 4:11-13
I don’t know about you, but I always used to think Paul was talking about high and lofty things – great things, super-natural super-human things. And I’ve thought that all my life–up to a minute ago when I read the context to that infamously quoted verse, Philippians 4:13.
See, the thing is, Paul wasn’t talking about moving mountains.
Go back and read verse 12 again:
12 I know both how to be abased, 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 to suffer need.
‘Oh yeah, and I can do all things through Christ.’
Well, all what things did he say? How to be abased. How to abound. How to be full, and empty, to abound, and to suffer.
Don’t get me wrong. I know Jesus can empower me to see miracles happen right before my eyes – I’ve seen them happen. But there’s something profoundly comforting about knowing this: that I can be empty by the power of Jesus. I can be hungry by the power of Jesus (I don’t say because of). I can suffer by the strength of Jesus.
It’s about rest again. Paul learned to be content no matter what the external circumstances. Why? Because he knew that Jesus is enough strength for anything. I said Jesus is enough! I can trust absolutely that no matter what, whether I’m hungry, whether I’m so full I don’t want to see another bite of food again, whether I have enough money to sow into others or I’m just barely scraping myself by, I can do all things through Christ who is my strength. I can rest and be content in his love no matter what circumstance. And you know what the first thing that came to mind was when this all hit me?
Maybe Jesus wants me to learn how to ‘do’ abased in the strength of him.
What if there is more blessing for me in learning how to be content in suffering by Jesus’ strength than there is in learning how to move a mountain? Or do you think it could be possible there’s something profoundly holy about learning to be lowly? Maybe this is the next step in learning to rest – learning to rest in the strength of Jesus anywhere; hungry, fed, rich or poor.
Jesus, teach me how to rest in your strength no matter what circumstance you send me into.