able to cope

silhouette of person standing near camping tent

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able to cope

Philippians 4:10-14 (JDV)

Philippians 4:10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly because once again you renewed your care for me. You were, in fact, concerned about me but lacked the opportunity to show it.
Philippians 4:11 I don’t say this due to my need, because I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I find myself.
Philippians 4:12 I know both how to make do with little, and I know how to make do with a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content – whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need.
Philippians 4:13 I am able to cope with all things through him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:14 On the other hand, you did well by partnering with me in my hardship.

able to cope

The prosperity gospel folks have so abused this text that it will take a nuanced translation to rescue it from their grasp. Paul is not encouraging people to think big and aim high. He is not arrogantly claiming to be able to do anything. He is a missionary, and he is thanking the Philippian congregations for supporting him financially. They partnered with him during his time of great need — even hunger at times. There were years when Paul was not able to support himself financially because he was imprisoned. During those years he depended completely on the help visitors and coworkers sent by congregations like those in Philippi.

There had been years where Paul had a successful ministry among the congregations because he was free to concentrate on his teaching and encouragement while at the same time providing for his own needs through his bivocational ministry of tent-making.

Because God has taught him contentment and trust, and because of the help God gave him through his supporters, Paul was able to cope with anything.

Lord, give us the spiritual strength that will help us to cope — to be content in times of plenty and times of hunger.

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About Jefferson Vann

Jefferson Vann is pastor of Piney Grove Advent Christian Church in Delco, North Carolina. You can contact him at marmsky@gmail.com -- !
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