“I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret” (Philippians 4:12, ESV).
The Holy Spirit gives us the secret of learning how to live when life is less than we want it to be; when we don’t have the resources that we thought we should have; when our dreams have not come true. Paul was saying, “I not only know that I can endure all things, but I have a secret and this secret is that I can live fully in times of plenty as well as times of hunger.”
How many of you know that sometimes we need to understand the secret of plenty more than the secret of hunger? When you’re living in abundance it is very easy to lose sight of your need for God. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, you become very dependent on the Holy Spirit. You are really praying.
We often think that the hard part for Paul was learning how to live in need. No, I think the hard part for Paul was learning how to live when he had abundance and I think the same can be true for us. But there’s this precious promise here that surpasses all our understanding. The promise that we can do all things through Christ and every need can be met. This additional promise is in verse 19, where we read, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory” (Philippians 4:19).
Again, this is in the context of saying, “I’m learning how to be abased. I’m learning how to go without anything and even in the midst of that, I know that God is going to supply every need.” It does not say want. It does not say ambition. It does not even say desire. It says, “God will supply every need.”