Philippians 4:13 – Prospering Through Pain

Daily Devotional Bible Verse

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13 ESV)

The Apostle Paul wrote this letter from a Roman prison cell, in about A.D. 61, to the church in Philippi. Joy and gratitude are prevalent themes and, given his situation, we can learn a thing or two about thankfulness from this ancient text. Paul’s letter was nearing it’s end as he wrote verse 12, saying

“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.”

In essence, Paul was revealing a profoundly simple truth: he understood the secret to contentedness was Jesus. When he faced dismal conditions and ruthless jailers, Paul was strengthened through Christ. When he had plenty and wasn’t being beaten or starved or shipwrecked, he was again being strengthened through Christ. Paul recognized that Christ is infinitely valuable and, therefore, in any situation, Paul possessed the most prized thing in all the universe through his relationship with Jesus. (Phillipians 3:8). That means when he had every worldly possession, it was nothing compared to Jesus. Like mere trinkets compared to a thousand kings’ crowns. And yet, when he was lacking, even to the point of death, he still had everything in Jesus, the source of all life and eternal salvation (Hebrews 5:9).

Paul prospered through pain or pleasure because he knew the source of real, everlasting wealth. There was never a situation Paul couldn’t face, because there was never a situation in which Paul was left to fend for himself. Our God goes ever before us, is always at work in us, and always has works to bring to completion through us.

Can you prosper through pain as well as pleasure? Do you have a skewed view of prosperity and hardship?