The Attitude of Paul
The apostle Paul possessed an excellent attitude when it came to serving the Lord. He did not hesitate to use his influence to assist others in having the same type of attitude. He encouraged those brethren to whom he wrote to follow the example of Christ as well as setting an example himself. The fourth chapter of the book of Philippians summarizes the nature of Paul's faith and attitude.
In spite of all of the afflictions suffered by the apostle, in spite of all the persecutions from those who opposed the gospel, in spite of false brethren, and the opposition of those who would like to see him dead, Paul knew that "my God shall supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus"(Philippians 4:19).
In the midst of all of his trials, he informed the brethren that he rejoiced "in the Lord greatly." It is not easy to be happy and contented when one has difficulties. Yet, the apostle knew that the saints who "revived your thought for me"(Philippians 4:10), cared about the apostle and his circumstances of life. It is uplifting to the spirit for one to know that someone truly cares for those who sacrifice for the cause of Christ.
The apostle did not live an easy life. In fact, he had learned "in whatsoever state I am, to be content"(v. 11). Contentedness is sought by many people in many different ways. For most of those, they find, at the end of some activity, it did not bring the contentment for which they have been searching. There was a song a few years ago that contained the words, alluding to the pursuits of this life, "Is that all there is?" When one depends wholly upon the "joys and thrills" of this life, there is not much to it, is there?
Paul had moments when he abounded and moments when he was abased(to see oneself on a lower state), but he did not surrender to the flesh as he learned to "abound and be in want." Whatever the conditions around him, the apostle lived for the Lord, without complaining, because he had his hope on receiving the "riches in glory in Christ Jesus"(v. 19).
The apostle recognized that he could "do all things in him that strengtheth"(v. 13) him. Paul appreciated the sympathy and care from the Philippian brethren. They had "fellowship with my afflictions"(v. 14). Learning to feel for others and share their difficulties and problems is one of the goals for those who are righteous. Paul, in the midst of his own troubles, was empathetic toward others and wanted them, in spite of his difficulties, to receive the blessings of God. The apostle was interested in the welfare of the brethren and demonstrated such in his actions and attitudes. He accepted, willingly, the feelings of caring saints. It is right to permit those of like mind to care for you and see to your needs. No Christian should refuse help when it is needed.
Only the Philippian church sent funds to Paul when he was in Thessalonica. Why? The brotherly love of these saints inspired them to share their meager goods with the apostle. They sent once and again to his "need"(v. 16). Learning to recognize needs of other disciples, whether physical or spiritual, should be the goal of each Christian. The proper attitude in such matters will not only help the receiver, but the one who assists others in time of need will be truly practicing the principles set forth by the Lord. "In all things I gave you an example, that so laboring ye ought to help the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that he himself said, It is more blessed to give than to receive"(Acts 20:35). Paul lived that example in his daily life. Do we?
Paul was grateful that other saints cared about him and his needs. He did not hesitate to express his feelings toward these brethren in Philippi. The brethren saw that he was "filled"(v. 18). Epaphroditus was the messenger that brought a "sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God"(v. 18). Paul's immediate needs were eased by the loving kindness of those disciples.
While it was the Philippian brethren that saw to Paul needs at this time, Paul attitude was, "And my God shall supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus"(v. 19). The Lord supplied the goods to those saints and they saw that Paul received what he needed. Let each of us learn to put our confidence in the Lord, recognizing that all blessings come from above. Paul knew that; the Philippians knew that--do we know that? Are we thankful for His blessings? Do we share what we receive from the Lord?
By James L. (Jim) Yopp
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