Scripture Reading: Philippians 4:11–13
“Not that I speak in respect of want; for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
Christian, have you received the grace of contentment? Are you content with what you have, whether it is little or much?
If you are not at peace, then pray for the grace of contentment. Pray for the grace to know how to abase and how to abound, and for the grace to do all things through Christ who strengthens you.
Paul knew that the foundation of a Christian’s life is the Word of God. That is why a Christian who does not have good Bible study habits is living in a state of danger. “To abase” means that you value beginnings even when they are small, it means that you know how to relate to the rejects as well as the regents of society. Remember: the rejects of today may be the regents of tomorrow. It also means that you know how to fall gracefully and rise majestically; to relate to both little and big things, and to do great things with small things and greater things with big things.
Paul knew how to humble himself before the Lord, and he knew how to stand exalted on the shoulders of the Lord Jesus. Deuteronomy 33:12 says that He carries us, His beloved, between His shoulders. Many believers know how to abase, but they do not know how to abound. “To abound” means to read the Word and to increase in the revelation of the Word, while manifesting it in your life. You abound by reading the Word, by taking time to pray daily and hourly for needs, by winning souls, by blessing people, and by increasing in wisdom, stature, and favour with God and man. It means to go as high as you can, because you relate to your foundation; you focus on the foundation, not on the exalted position.
It is perilous for a believer to become disconnected from his foundation, his root, the Word. He loses sight of where he began, so he does not know where he is going. You know how to abase and abound, because you have learned to relate to your root. You remain connected with your foundation, so you have the basis to increase to your full potential. You are free to abound, because you know that your God is above all other gods. Your God brings peace and contentment. If you are a believer with just the ability to abase, you are like a building that has a great foundation but lacks a structure: there are no walls, no roof. If you just have the ability to abound, then you have a building, but no foundation; the building will collapse. That is why Paul says that he knows both. You must abase first, in order to abound, but you must do both.
What is your foundation as a Christian? Is it the Word of God? Do you know how to abase: to turn to the Word of God, to apply it to your life, when challenges come your way? When you have trials, turn to your stronghold, the Word of God. Get in your prayer closet and relate to your root, Jesus Christ. That is abasing. When you do that, you have no choice but to abound. You will begin to manifest the Word of God into your reality.
Because Paul learned the importance of abasing and abounding, he was able to say, “I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me,” Philippians 4:13. Many of us want to do great things, but we have no foundation.
May God give us an appreciation for our foundation, for our root: the Word of God. Our culture is not our root, it is circumstantial; it is based on how and where we were born.
But the Word of God is settled; it does not change. We need to humbly submit (abase) ourselves to the Word of God and make it the foundation of our lives, so that we may increase exponentially (abound) in all things.
Father, may we stay connected to our foundation, the Word of God. I pray that we will daily abase ourselves to your will and to your way. May we abound, so that our lives will give proof to this generation that you are a great God who can do great things. O Lord, as we study the Word of God, reveal to us how to have a lifestyle of humility. Teach us how to be happy and content with the provisions and promotions that you give us. As we stay connected to the Word, may we grow deep roots and great branches in the name of Jesus. May He make the tree of our lives tall, because we know how to abase and how to abound. Amen.