Being Able to Do All Things in Christ (1)
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.
(Part 1 of 3)
According to 4:10-13, Paul applies the secret he has learned to his circumstances in prison. As a prisoner in Rome, he was far away from many of the believers and from many churches which had been raised up through his ministry. No doubt, during his imprisonment, he suffered both psychologically and physically. He was in need of a material supply. It certainly was not easy for him to be in prison under such circumstances.
In these verses Paul indicates that he was in want; he needed a material supply. When he was in want, he was abased. In the presence of the jailers, the guards, and even the whole praetorian he was in want and was abased. Perhaps others said of him, “Poor prisoner! No one takes care of him, and nothing comes as a supply to him.” Then suddenly Epaphroditus arrived with a gift from the Philippians [v.18]. Now that Paul had received their rich supply, he was not lacking in anything. He could say, “I have all things and abound.”
Before Epaphroditus came, Paul was abased. After he came with the supply, Paul was abounding. But he did not know how long this abounding would last. He knew that probably the time would come when once again he would be in want. He had been in a low situation; now he was at a peak. But perhaps in not too long a time he would be low again. Knowing that his circumstances could change again very soon, Paul said that he knew not only how to be abased and how to abound, but also how to abound and how to be in want.