There is probably no greater encouragement for daily living than this passage from Paul. Written from prison this passage has added meaning when you remember that Paul was facing some of the most difficult moments in his life – moments that would end with his own execution. The apostle’s attitude rested in the knowledge that Christ was living in him and would bring him through his struggles. He knew that Jesus himself faced terrible trials yet was victorious. Paul cast his future upon the Lord. We can also enjoy that confidence today through the same faith and dependence that Paul used.
Paul trusted in the Son of Man.
Jesus often used the term “son of man” to describe himself. It seems that this title highlighted the humanness of Jesus. Although fully God he was also fully man. The two characteristics perfectly melded together in the incarnation. But sometimes Jesus wanted people to take note of the human side (Matthew 20:28; Mark 8:31; Luke 9:22; John 8:28). The writer of Hebrews emphasizes his human side when he concludes that Jesus is a High Priest who has suffered just like we have so that he might understand our difficulties (Hebrews 4:15).
Jesus spent over 33 years upon the earth. He faced the same problems we face today and suffered the same temptations. He knows what we face and he cares.
Paul trusted in the Creator.
Jesus was the creator (John 1:1-4) and thus possessed immeasurable power and authority over the physical (and spiritual) world. He knew that the same power used to craft the worlds out of nothingness could deliver him from any earthly challenge. It is important to properly understand what Paul is saying in Philippians 4. He says he can do “all things” but modifies or qualifies that statement. The modifier comes when he declares that he can to all things “through him who strengthens me.” You see, there is no strength for Paul apart from Jesus. He cannot do all things by himself but only through or in Christ.
How horribly we fail when we seek to face daily life emboldened by our own strength and not that of Jesus. How weak we truly are! Set your faith in Jesus’ ability to deliver!
Paul trusted in the future.
There is not much faith in the future today. Economic troubles, job losses, declining markets, rising crime, threats of war and terror, ineffective government and more give greater and greater fear to the citizen of the world. But Paul did not concern himself with worldly or earthly affairs. No, Paul looked beyond the earth for his strength. Things upon the earth might not work out like Paul had hoped. He not live to be old like John. He would never have a comfortable life here. But Paul knew that whatever happened here would pale in comparison to his future. He told Timothy that his life was already coming to an end. But there would be a crown awaiting him (2 Timothy 4:6-8).
Use Paul as an example of strength and trust and never forget that Jesus will reward the faithful!