Category: Daily Devotions

Learning the Secret (1)

image for blog entry

Bible Verses

Phil 4:11 Not that I speak according to lack, for I have learned, in whatever circumstances I am, to be content. 12 I know also how to be abased, and I know how to abound; in everything and in all things I have learned the secret both to be filled and to hunger, both to abound and to lack. 13 I am able to do all things in Him who empowers me.

Consider this:

(Part 1 of 2) In teaching people to do things, even insignificant things, we mainly teach them the secret. This is true, for example, in teaching someone the art of barbecuing meat. If a person does not learn the secret of barbecuing, he may ruin the meat. One side may be overdone, and the other side raw. Likewise, we may not know the secret of sufficiency in Christ found in Philippians 4. We may talk a great deal about the book of Philippians, but not know the secret of experiencing Christ. I say again, in chapter four we have the secret and the power. On the one hand, Paul says, "I have learned the secret" (v. 12); on the other hand, he testifies, "I can do all things in Him Who empowers me" (v. 13).

The words "I have learned the secret" are an interpretation of the Greek word which means "I have been initiated." The metaphor is that of a person being initiated into a secret society with instruction in its rudimentary principles. Paul had not only learned a secret; he had been initiated and had learned certain basic principles. Among the Greeks there were a number of secret societies. Anyone who was to become a member of such a society had to learn the rudimentary principles of that society. Others had to initiate him into the society by instructing him in its principles. By using this metaphor, Paul was saying that a church, which is rather mysterious, has certain basic principles. After Paul was converted to Christ, he was in a sense initiated into the church life. This means that he was instructed in the secret of how to enjoy Christ, how to take Christ as life, how to live Christ, how to magnify Christ, how to gain Christ, and also how to have the church life. These are the rudimentary principles of the church life. (Continued tomorrow)

Posted in:

  • Daily Devotions

Hate The Things That Distract Us From Christ

image for blog entry

Bible Verses

 Luke 14:25 And there were great crowds going along with Him, and He turned and said to them, (26) If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, and moreover, even his own soul-life, he cannot be My disciple. Matt 10:37 He who loves father or mother above Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter above Me is not worthy of Me;

Consider this:

In 14:25-35 we have the Lord's teaching concerning how to follow Him. According to His word in verse 26, we need to hate anything or anyone that would frustrate us or distract us from the proper enjoyment of Christ. It is not the Lord's intention to teach us to hate anyone. Rather, His intention is to teach us to hate the frustrations and distractions, to hate whatever would distract us or keep us from the enjoyment of Christ. The Lord, of course, teaches us to love others. Not only should we love the members of our family; we should even love our enemies. In fact, we also need to love ourselves. Therefore, the Lord teaches us to love everyone.

 Why, then, does He in verse 26 apparently teach us to hate our father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, and even ourselves? The reason for His teaching here is that this kind of love often frustrates us from the proper and faithful enjoyment of Christ. What we should hate is the frustration, not any person. The Lord does not teach us to hate persons, but He does teach us to hate the distractions, frustrations, hindrances, and obstacles. He teaches us to hate whatever keeps us from following Him faithfully. If we do not have a hatred for what frustrates our enjoyment of Christ, we shall be disqualified from enjoying the jubilee in the coming age.

Posted in:

  • Daily Devotions

The Secret to Counteracting Anxiety

image for blog entry

Bible Verses

Phil. 4:6 In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; (7) And the peace of God, which surpasses every man's understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus. (11) Not that I speak according to lack, for I have learned, in whatever circumstances I am, to be content. (13) I am able to do all things in Him who empowers me.

Consider this:

If we have learned the secret, we shall know how to counteract anxiety. If you are in poverty, there is no need for you to be anxious or to worry. The Lord is still at hand, and He will take care of you. By nature, we are given to worry, to anxiety. This is true as much of the rich as it is of the poor. Those who are poor have their particular worries, and those who are rich have theirs. Only those who are truly in Christ in their experience and who are inwardly empowered by Him have no need to worry or to be anxious.

As a human being, Paul did undergo suffering with respect to material needs. Paul was not an angel, and he was not like a lifeless statue without feelings. No doubt, he had learned the secret of sufficiency in Christ. When he was in want and was tempted to worry about his situation, he applied this secret. Then, in his experience, this secret eliminated his worry. Therefore, he could have the boldness to testify that he knew both how to be abased and how to abound. The very fact that Paul knew how to be abased indicates that he experienced feelings of abasement. He knew what it was to have worry and anxiety in times of suffering. But at those times he applied the secret of the indwelling Christ. He applied the very Christ in whom he could be found. This Christ is real, living, near, available, and prevailing. This was the Christ who was Paul's secret.

Using a Stoic term, Paul could say that he had learned, in whatever circumstances he was, to be content. Although Paul used a Stoic word, he was by no means a Stoic. On the contrary, he was a person in Christ, and he experienced Christ and applied Him in all circumstances. Paul could be content not because he had been instructed by the Stoics, but because he applied the very Christ in whom he lived and in whom he remained. Again I say, this Christ became Paul's secret.

Posted in:

  • Daily Devotions

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...