Philippians 4:11 – “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, [therewith] to be content.”
Paul learned of and trusted in the One who was the governor of every state or condition in which he found himself. Paul was never “in it” alone. He went from a place of honor by some while feared by others to being stoned, beaten, tortured, shipwrecked, and finally in prison about to be executed.
The Greek word for “content” is autarkes and speaks of a sufficiency within a believer, and it comes through the power of Jesus Christ. It is a sufficiency that is entirely God-produced, leaving the soul completely satisfied.
Paul was ever learning to be content in his present situation and circumstance, because he was ever growing in knowing the Lord who truly is the only One that can eternally satisfy. Paul was increasingly growing in knowing Him through a relationship that has Him as its consuming passion. This is the place we cannot help but see Him being with us in every state in which we find ourselves.
No wonder Paul said, “His grace is sufficient for me.” Paul was not merely content in and under all circumstances, but his focus was on why: He knew the One who met all of his true needs.
Similarly, King David said, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” Shepherd in Hebrew is ra’ah which is a consuming passion. The Lord was David’s consuming passion. He did not want or need anything else.
Scripture Studies: Psalm 23:1, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10