Hello fellow lovers of God’s word!
Welcome to another #OnlineBibleStudy.
Today, we’ll be delving into something that affects us all at one time or the other.
On friday last week, I was a bit dry financially.
I was so dry, so much so that I didn’t have the 50naira it would take to get me home from the office.
I went to the office in faith, hoping that my boss will “dash” me something but “no show” OYO was my case.
Got to the ATM and ATM said I had insufficient funds..well, I saw red!
Of course ladies always cry so I started crying.
I didn’t want to walk to a random stranger to beg for money so I resolved to walk home and chalk it up to fitness things.
But still I was troubled and started talking to God.
Like how far?
Is this the promise?
Is this all I get for….
Now, before we go on, I must put it out there that I am not sharing this as a cry for help. (motive matters remember?)
I am only sharing this as a basis for our Bible Study and how God taught me and will hopefully teach us all again here and help us grow in God through this.
That is what this is all about.
So as I was saying, I started talking to God and I was hoping He will reply and calm me down with a still voice, instead what I got was – “For I have learned how to be content with whatever I have, I know how to live on almost nothing and with everything…”
Those were Paul’s words and they kept ringing in me as I walked home.
Well, remember the tips in our last Bible Study? I used praise to get me out of the funk as I walked home. I decided that if I have to walk home, I might as well walk in joy, so I plugged in Praise him in advance and sang all the way home.
I just read in a Kenneth Hagin’s book that he wore off 4shoes in those days because of trekking things and he didn’t die did he?
Well, that’s just an aside on faith things.
I got home and the words from Paul were still ringing in my head and as usual, when stuff like that happens, I dig into the word!
So let’s dig in together shall we?
“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 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.”
He said that I have LEARNED.
How did he learn how to be content?
Did he learn when he was in abundance?
Is that when we learn how to live on almost nothing?
No, let’s look at how Paul lived sometimes.
“Even now we go hungry and thirsty, and we donât have enough clothes to keep warm. We are often beaten and have no home. We work wearily with our own hands to earn our living. We bless those who curse us. We are patient with those who abuse us. We appeal gently when evil things are said about us. Yet we are treated like the worldâs garbage, like everybodyâs trashâright up to the present moment.”
So Paul had known real suffering.(duh, he was in prison)
Not the type that I didn’t have transport fare.
No, the type that he didn’t have enough clothes to keep warm.
Now, some of us have suitcases of clothes that we don’t even wear till the whole year runs out but Paul didn’t have enough to even keep warm.
This man had lived in penury and had seen real suffering, yet he said “Not that I was ever in need”
Now just wait!
What does he mean??
He has been hungry, thirsty, been so cold… and even with all these things he could say “not that I was ever in need”(Phillipians 4:11)
Well, that’s ridiculous to say the least right?
I was crying because I had no money but someone who has been in an almost perpetual state of lack is saying that “not that I have ever been in need” (makes me know that I still have a lot of growing up to do in this Christian faith/race)
Now, why would Paul say that even with lack, he was never in need?
In other words, he is saying that “the only need I have is for Christ Jesus and Jesus Christ has already filled it because I already have Jesus.
This is like a total and complete thirst and need for God alone.
One that a lack or no lack thereof does not affect…
Let that sink in for a moment…
Again, he says he knows how to live in every situation.
“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.” – Philippians 4:12
“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”
Now pause there again.
It’s like saying “Just give me Jesus, the rest don’t matter. The food, clothes don’t matter. Just give me Jesus. Even if the rest aren’t there, I will live”
It’s like getting to that point where Jesus says “unbelievers worry about what to eat or drink, you pursue the kingdom and all these things will be added unto you” – Matthew 6:33
Sometimes when I worship God, I just start saying “lord, strip me bare, strip me bare”
I listen to “Tye Tribbeth’s- You are everything and everything is you” and sing along but do we really understand what those words mean?
If we do, then why do so many Christians fall away from the faith because they don’t have jobs?
Paul warned Timothy about these things.
1Timothy 6:5-8 (Start from verse 3 for better understanding- that’s assuming rightly that you’ve got your Bibles out yeah?)
“These people always cause trouble. Their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth. To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy. (NOTE THIS) Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we canât take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.”
But we are to be content with just clothes and food?
Now, let’s understand this, before someone will misunderstand this.
Paul isn’t discouraging wealth, after all, it is God’s will that we prosper(3John 2)
But He is saying that godliness isn’t just a leeway for us to be wealthy.
True godliness is the fact that we are content with Jesus as our everything, be us wealthy or not.
So we may not have all the silver and gold right now but if we can learn how to be content in every situation, then we’ve got wealth.
A wealth that is of true value in God’s sight.
Why is this truth so important?
Because of 1Timothy 6:9-10
“But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.”
I think the worse sorrows of these sorrows is loosing Jesus as our everything.
That’s why you prosper in God’s kingdom even as your soul prospers.
One doesn’t go without the other.
You fall away from pursuing the kingdom and pursue wealth instead then you’ve got it all wrong.
As I write this, I imagine that some of us think that we don’t belong to this group of people but how many of us with the big jobs in big cities still fellowship with God as we should?
Have we left God behind because we are looking for salaries?
How many of our jobs still afford us time to go for midweek services at Church?
I heard of one of our minister’s story at my Church in Lagos.
The first job he got as a lawyer in Lagos didn’t give him time to be at Church during the week, so he quit.
He got another job that paid less than the first but he discussed with his boss that church time is compulsory and he agreed.
At the end of the month, he was shocked to get more than the salary they agreed on.
He asked the boss about it and the boss said that he just felt that he was worth more than they bargained for.
That was a test for him.
Do you place making a buck higher than you place God?
Sometimes, we don’t even know these things.
This is a call for us to retrace our steps.
Are we already wandering from the faith?
We must know that this doesn’t happen overnight.
It creeps up on us little by little.
One day you wake up and realize that having your quiet time with God isn’t the first thing that is on your mind anymore.
Do you know how easily the simple want of 50Naira could have led me away from the faith if I wasn’t grounded in God?
There are people that I could have called up that I have no business calling all because I want money.
Leaving God out of the whole issue as the only one who can supply our needs spells problems for us.
That road only leads to destruction.
Paul said it leads to many sorrows.
It’s the reason why we have to keep ourselves grounded in God, so grounded, closely and totally secure in Him.
Enough to let His words wash over you even when you face trails and temptations.
We should ask ourselves some questions and answer them sincerely…
Is your contentment with Christ still intact?
Are you displaying true godliness with contentment as your great gain?
Or is your salary or studying for that degree your great gain?
Have you learned how to live with almost nothing or with everything?
Can you do all these things through Christ?
I believe that there is a reason why God is teaching me(us) these things now.
So that we do not fall away from the true faith.
God wants to bless us, He wants to bless us in a big way but He also wants us to have enough spiritual stamina to carry such blessings.
So much spiritual stamina that we know that the ultimate isn’t the blessing, and if God takes them away, I am still satisfied in God himself. Hallelujah!
Paul said to Timothy…
“But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses. And I charge you before God, who gives life to all, and before Christ Jesus, who gave a good testimony before Pontius Pilate, that you obey this command without wavering. Then no one can find fault with you from now until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. “
It’s like charging me and you today…
Others may fall into this craze of not being satisfied with God as their everything but you, men and women of God, run from all that.
Learn how to live with almost nothing or with everything, knowing that Christ is your everything.
Know what money is meant to be used for as believers and don’t let it use you(we will study this in a subsequent Bible Study)
But for today, meditate on this and let it sink in…
Is Christ your everything?
Have you learned how to live with a full or empty stomach in Christ?
Do you know the secret of living in every situation?
I pray that the truth that Christ is the secret come alive in us and may we walk in it.
May we not fall away from true godliness.
May our hearts ever be right toward God in Jesus name, amen.
As usual, the rhema I get from these Bible studies may not the same as yours.
I would love to learn/hear from you.
Please leave a comment with what you got in the comment section below.
And till our next #OnlineBibleStudy,
Stay grounded in the Word,