The skill of being low


"Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:11-13

We are reading through Philippians with our community group and I've been meditating on this "I can do all things" verse for the past few weeks, often as I drag myself out of my warm bed to feed my sweet little boy in the middle of the night!

The next thing that struck me from these verses is the phrase, "I know how to be brought low." Clearly the "all things verse" relates to the preceding list Paul gives of situations with which he has learned to be content. Previously, I have thought of this verse as a "go out and conquer verse." Whatever you set your mind to you can do. Go be great and do great things in His strength.  
And I think that's part of it, but misses the complete context.

The "I can do all things" verse is preceded by a list of up and down experiences--brought low/abound, plenty/hunger, abundance/need. 

It seems that in some circumstances we overcome and conquer, and in others we must learn to be content. There is not always a "fix." 

I don't know about you, but I struggle being low and needy. I struggle when I feel out of balance--with my sleep, with hormones (aren't we all just a few hormones away from cuckoo-land?!), with my emotions, with my relationships. 

But there is a skill to being brought low that God would have us learn. Did you catch that Paul said he "learned to be content"? Paul writes as a seasoned Jesus-follower, a life-long learner. In fact, the word "learned" that Paul uses is related to the Greek word used for disciple or learner/apprentice. 

Are you learning contentment? It's baby steps for me. I toddle along awkwardly until I fall into discontentment, but those few steps in contentment are glorious and peaceful.

Friends, God is not expecting perfection today. That expectation was met at the cross. It is done. Live from grace today and GROW! Be a learner. See your Jesus as stronger than your circumstances. And when you fail, like I will today, embrace His grace even more.



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