Everyone turn in your Bibles to Philippians 4:11-13. Just kidding. I will tell you them:
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.
Verses 12 and 13 are sung by the Hitchcock family, of which we have a 90 minute CD. I made an OT CD and a NT CD for our car, but I prefer Mr. E to the Hitchcocks, so I filled the car CDs with Mr. E songs and only included the longer verses by the Hitchcocks to fill up the CDs to the full 80 minutes. These verses are on the car CD. The CD is 80 minutes, as I said, and you would think that would last a long time, but living 20 minutes from church means we go through the whole CD in two trips. I put the CD in there about a month or so ago, so if you assume we only drive the car to and from church, that means I've listened to this song 7 or 8 times in the past month. Yesterday was the first time something hit me about these verses.
I have always, always thought "I can do all things..." was a super general verse, written for anyone facing a difficult task. Which I'm sure it still is. But as I sang the words to verse 12, how to be abased, how to abound, to be full, to be hungry, to abound, to suffer need...Those are some difficult things to do, not to mention doing them all at the same time! (And if you remember from verse 11, these are the situations we need to be content in.)
I don't know about you, but I HATE to speak in public. Only with Christ's strength am I ever able to actually speak in public. As much as I need His strength for that, though, I think that I need His strength so many times more to be content in an abased, hungry, and "in need" state. Isn't that really the hardest thing our sinful souls could be asked to do? Be content no matter what? So out of all the commands in the entire Bible, isn't it interesting that God chose here to place His promise of Christ's strength?
I used to not like Paul, because I felt that he was over-preached, but I'm beginning to see that he had some pure gold nuggets. In my devotions starting this Saturday (tomorrow), I will be reading through Galatians to Colossians, and I will be keeping my eyes (and heart) peeled for more treasures like this one.