Philippians 4:10-23

There are a number of Christian virtues – a change in character to be like Jesus – present in Paul’s final remarks to the church at Philippi. Let me note several:

The Virtue of True Contentment (v.11, 12)
Paul understood both ends of need, poverty and prosperity. In all cases, he found the secret of and applied contentment in Christ. Biblical contentment is an inner sense of rest or peace that comes from being right with God and knowing that He is in control of all that happens to us. Our ability to discover true Biblical contentment is relative to our surrender of all circumstances to God the Holy Spirit and his work in our lives and is found in the depth, width, height and breadth of our relationship with Christ.

The Virtue of Confidence in God’s Power (v.13)
Have you noted that the severity of Paul’s circumstances didn’t alter his faith or dictate whether God was with him or not? God was! The secret of/for contentment and confidence in his power is connected with faith. We cannot find true contentment in the absence of faith. Faith says, ‘I can do this, because of his strength.’ Faith says he’s there. Faith is being contented and confident in him.

The Virtue of Generosity and Investment in Others’ Needs (v.14-20)
These verses reveal a lot about the heart of the church at Philippi and one of the central values of any church:

  • Generosity is a priority in our Christian Walk. (v.14-17)
    Paul had taught the church right from the start the importance of faithful generosity to mission and ministry. Generosity is not governed by our excesses or surpluses but by the belief it all belongs to God and therefore how he wants me to steward it.
  • Generosity and kingdom investment trusts in God’s provision. Trusting in the provision of the Lord ultimately is the applied principle that determines our generosity. When we believe that what we have and own is in God’s mission account, we trust not in what we have but in the unlimited resources of the Lord, who can meet all our needs, “according to the riches of his glory”.
  • Generosity is worship and is a sacrifice (v.18-20). Paul appreciated the gifts of the church but wanted them to see that the end value is not in what they provided for him, but where their contentment was. Paul calls their gift “an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God”. The gifts were sacrificial – in terms of the personal cost associated. They (the Church) laid something significant on the ‘altar of God’, this was their act of worship, and it pleased the Lord. They weren’t building something for themselves; they were part of building something bigger than themselves.

For all that has been shared in the letter, it starts with grace (1:2) and ends with grace (4: 21-23). May His Grace be with our spirits, as we develop these virtues.