Together in Christ: 'A 'Can-Do' Disciple' — Philippians 4:12-13, 18-20

Thursday, December 5, 2024

I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
 
At the moment I have all I need — and more! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God. And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.
 
Now all glory to God our Father forever and ever! Amen.
— Philippians 4:12-13, 18-20 NLT

Key Thought

Paul was a "can-do" follower of Jesus. What goes into having a "can-do" heart as a disciple of Jesus? Two important sets of relationships:

  1. A strong connection and reliance on Christ Jesus
    Paul lived dependent upon Christ, loyal to Christ, on mission from Christ, and convinced he was going to end up with Christ. No matter the situation, Paul could depend upon Christ to give Him strength. He knew he could face any situation, including imprisonment and the lack of everyday conveniences, relationships, and freedoms. [1]
     
  2. A strong and loving connection to friends in Christ
    Paul was very close to the Christians in Macedonia, and especially those in Philippi. [2] They felt very profoundly committed to Paul. They sent one of their own, Epaphroditus, to look after Paul's needs even at the personal risk of identifying with a prisoner to Rome. [3] Their support for Paul was unique, and his love for them is very evident in his letter we know as Philippians.

We know Jesus talked about loving God and our neighbors, as well as our brothers and sisters in Christ. [4] John deepened this connection with his emphasis on loving our brothers and sisters with genuine, tangible help. [5] James, the half-brother of Jesus, emphasized this same kind of love between believers. [6] The early church demonstrated this kind of support-giving love in the family of believers both with local needs as well as worldwide needs. [7]

One of the reasons we need to assemble with other believers is that our "can-do" spirit, our ability "to do everything through Christ, who gives me strength" means that we have close, deeply committed relationships with Christ and our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. [8] Jesus is Lord and Christ. Our church family is the body of Christ. We need to have the "can-do" spirit of the apostle Paul. Jesus is real inside us and beside us. We need both sets of relationships to navigate life victoriously!

[1] Paul is in prison and possibly facing death when he wrote the letter to the Philippians — Philippians 1:7-8, 12, 19-24, 4:22.
[2] Acts 16:9-12, 19:21-22, 29, 20:1-3, 27:2; Romans 15:26; 1 Corinthians 16:5; 2 Corinthians 1:16, 2:13, 7:5, 8:1-8, 9:2-4, 11:9; Philippians 1:3-4, 7, 4:15-20, 1 Timothy 1:3.
[3] Philippians 2:25-30, 4:18.
[4] Matthew 22:37-40; John 13:34-35.
[5] 1 John 3:16-18.
[6] James 2:14-16.
[7] Acts 2:44, 4:32-37, 11:27-30.

Today's Prayer

Father, I am amazed at the resilient faith of the apostle Paul. He faced so many trials while sharing the Good News of Jesus all around the world. * He continued to share his faith, whether free or under arrest. ^ He willingly gave up his personal preferences and rights to reach as many people as possible with the gospel of Jesus. # So, almighty God, I ask that the following statement of Paul be true of me — I want to feel it deep in my soul and be able to share it with others:

I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return. @

May my relationship with the Lord be this real, certain, and communicated. I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.

* 2 Corinthians 11:24-27.
^ Acts 16:22-36; Philippians 1:18-23, 22.
# 1 Corinthians 9:18-23.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Matthew 6:1-34
  • James 2:14-17; 1 John 3:14-18

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Illustration

Illustration of Philippians 4:12-13, 18-20 NLT — I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.   At the moment I have all I need — and more! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God. And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.   Now all glory to God our Father forever and ever! Amen.

About This Devotional

Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.

'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.