“Not that I speak in respect of want; for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am in, therein to be content.”
All too often we associate contentment with happiness since the two do travel together. But Paul was no more speaking of happiness than was Job as the hand of the Lord was upon him, or Daniel as he was being led to the lions den. What Paul had been taught of the Spirit that in whatsoever state, circumstance or condition he was in that it was sufficient for him. He had been given a thorn in his flesh, a messenger from Satan to buffet him and thrice he petitioned the Lord for redress in the matter. But God answered him personally that His grace, which was given to him, was sufficient for him. The love, grace and mercy of God is all encompassing to all the household of the redeemed and His blood has cleansed all the sin and iniquity, but, He reveals these truths as He has applied them to each individual in a personally identifiable way.
Saul of Tarsus had been separated from his mothers womb as a child of grace. Yet he was raised in the philosophy of the Pharisees in the feet of Gamaliel in the heart of Jewery. No coincident that the name ‘Gamaliel’ means ‘produced of my God’ or that he had been born of the tribe of ‘the son of my right hand’, Benjamin. His education and training were all part and parcel to the assignment that God had given him and when he had ascended to the pinnacle of power with letters in hand on the road to Damascus, it was revealed to him, by the Spirit of Light, that the Son of God dwelt in him. He was told that he was a chosen vessel unto God; that he had a specific assignment, i.e., to the name of Jehovah to the Gentiles, before Kings and the children of Israel. Immediately after he received his sight and was baptized, he conferred not with flesh and blood, nor did he go up to Jerusalem for confirmation of his office. Rather he spent three years in Arabia, that great seminary in the wilderness, being taught how that all things that he had accomplished and gained were now considered worthless and polluted. Fourteen years later he went up by the revelation of God and was received by the brethren gathered there. A few years later he and Barnabus were separated for the work that the Spirit had called them to do and this once proud and prominent champion for the righteousness of the law was confirmed as minister of the gospel by stripes, imprisonments and in patience, affliction, necessities and distress, by the power of God and the word of truth. Then after three missionary journeys in which he carried neither purse nor bag, being beaten, stoned and left for dead and shipwrecked, he was arrested in Jerusalem and sent to Rome. This is where he writes this letter to the Philippian church and reveals to them that all this has been done to teach him that in whatsoever state he is in it is the will of God by the grace of God and it is sufficient for him. He did not need to pray to see if he was doing God’s will or if he was in the center of God’s will, it had been revealed to him by the teaching of the Holy Spirit that dwelt within and peace was imparted to the inward man that where he was and what he was doing was and is the will of God and therein he was content.
Let the world rant and rave about getting into God’s will and doing a good work for Him. Adam cannot understand these things although he tries to obtain righteousness by doing them himself and coercing others to join him. The peace that passes all understanding is the sovereignty of God and His love for His people.
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
August 15, 2010