“It’s all God”
The man who said this to me had suffered tremendous loss in the housing market bust of 2008. He went from being upper middle class (nearly in the category of “wealthy”) to lower middle class (almost “poor”). He’d lost his business, his own house, and his primary source of income.
And the same guy who said, “It’s all God” when he was at the height of his success told me, “It’s all God” when he was at the bottom. And the smile on his face with the brightness of his eyes revealed he truly believed it.
What’s the secret of that kind of perspective? What did he know so many of us reach for?
The Apostle Paul also knew the secret this man’s eyes and smile revealed. In Philippians 4:10-13 Paul writes:
10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:10-13, NIV
The Christians of the Church in the Roman city of Philippi cared for Paul deeply. He’s already demonstrated his love for them in this letter. The “renewed…concern” they showed for Paul was in their sending of Epaphroditus to care for Paul while he is in prison. He knew they cared, but they went “above and beyond” with this action.
The pleasantries of the Apostle Paul in verse 10 gives way to something profound in verses 11-13. Often quoted but rarely seen in the context of these verses, Paul expresses his confidence in the Lord whatever his circumstances.
In spite of his circumstances (remember: he’s in prison writing this!), Paul has “learned to be content” no matter what. Whether having plenty of provision or being found in need, the seasoned Apostle has learned the secret of contentment.
And this secret wasn’t some kind of inner strength. Paul won’t settle for us simply saying he’s “picking himself up by his bootstraps” and making himself “carry on” with a “stiff upper lip”.
The secret wasn’t Paul.
The secret is Jesus: “I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (verse 13).
Jesus told us He was the vine while we’re branches on that vine and without Him, we can’t do anything (cf. John 15:5).
Paul knew this, too. Paul experienced this first hand.
Dear one in Jesus, do you know that, too? The strength you need to overcome the mountain is from Jesus. The power to dance in celebration for blessings is from Jesus, too.
My friend knows this. The Apostle Paul knew this. Scripture challenges us to know it too.
“It’s all God”…that’s the secret.
We’re soon to end our study in Philippians.
I’d greatly appreciate your thoughts on where we should go next.
Want more like this? Consider my book: 31 Days of Spiritual Wisdom: A Month in the Proverbs. It is often said: knowledge knows a snake is in the grass and wisdom is staying out of the grass. While that creates a good working definition, there is undoubtedly more to applying knowledge than that. Moving through a selection of verses from a chapter of Proverbs for every day of the month, I walk readers through a journey of spiritual formation applicable to everyday life. The goal? Knowing how to apply the wisdom of Scripture so we grow in our faith, become wiser, and show the world the life-changing power of Jesus.