“I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction.” Philippians 4:12-13
“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority” Colossians 2:8-10
Can we really do all things through Christ who strengthens us? Jesus is Lord of heaven and earth, and the creator of all things. He can certainly provide any and everything needed to give us the power to do all things. But does He? Not likely. So is this a false teaching? Never – but it is often used by false teachers. Some would have us believe that this verse is a promise of wealth and power. But first, we always need to consider the context. This verse is really about enduring the trials of life.
Colossians 2 expands on this issue. Paul refers to worldly philosophy, empty deception, and the elementary principles of the world. These principles are also brought into perspective when Paul says: “the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God” 1 Corinthians 3:18-20. Since Jesus was never about acquiring the things of this world, His plans for us are not likely to have much to do with acquiring the things that are naturally appealing to our old nature. If a prosperity preacher is telling you otherwise – red flag. If your “all things” goals are centered around the things of the world, it is time to reconsider your priorities. Just ask yourself this question: what would Jesus have on his list for me?
This verse is about the secret of contentment. Jesus has promised he will provide everything we need, therefore we can be contented with whatever the circumstances of life might be. We have nothing to worry about. We can have peace, comfort, and confidence knowing that our heavenly father is in total control of all things; and that he will cause all things to work together for our good when we love Him and are called according to His purpose. And when we are at peace in the worst of times Jesus is using our contentment to draw others to Him through us. His strength through us speaks to others more than anything we could say.
Another truth to be learned here is that for those who have been blessed with abundance – lovingly providing for others in their affliction and need is one of the greatest blessings we can ever know. “you have done well to share with me in my affliction” I only wish I had known about the power of this truth earlier in my life.
“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.”
“Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you?”
“You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:25-34
We need to no longer think and reason like mere men; but rather see ourselves as Christ our heavenly father sees us. “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:2-3
Grace and Peace to you my friends,
Bob West – Geezerdust©2020