Philippians 4:12 “I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.”
In life, conditions are said not to be permanent. There are different times and seasons that we pass through as humans. Even when one is born into a very influential and wealth family, one would at some point in time go through differing seasons. Some seasons are favourable while other seasons seem harsh, but all in all, we must learn to adapt to these varying seasons.
The scripture in focus starts by saying, “I know how to be abused….” To be abased means to be reduced to the base, or in more plain terms to be humbled. We must learn how to live even in scarcity. We ought to know how to be content even when we do not have all that we want and things seem not too plenty to our satisfaction. We must learn to be satisfied with the little we have. Their are some conditions of life that require us to live without been affluent, we must learn to be content and humble in that. For some, life becomes so difficult when they can’t afford some luxurious lifestyle, they begin to borrow and at times steal to ensure they meet us with such extravagant lifestyle and this has gotten so many people in problems. We must learn to be abased, devoid of extravagance and learn to be modest in life. “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6.
“….and I know how to abound….” To abound means to become plenty, to increase or to live in surplus. The Apostle started by saying, I have learnt to live in conditions of scarcity, hence this has helped to condition my mind to also live in surplus. One who has learnt the kingdom lifestyle would not become wasteful because of surplus or abundance. That there is surplus doesn’t mean we can be wasteful spenders. God has all things yet “He would cast His costly pearls to swines….” God is our example and He gives us a model to follow. We must become wise in our living through life. Even when all seems to be available for spending, we need to learn how to be modestly and moderately affluent.
Joseph gives us a model to this thought. He lived in two eras of life. At different junctions, he experienced the two sides of life. He was born into a rich family, he had all that he ever desires, the father loves him more than the other siblings, he was bought a fine cloth and made to be close to the father’s heart, yet he was hated by his brothers, deprived of true freedom, limited in playing times with them. Free on one side, yet limited on the other side, so constrain is experienced.
Was sold to slavery and his first point of call was a rich man’s house where he had everything under his influence. He was expected to live as one who has control and is prosperous, yet he still chose the modest life. He had all he wanted and would have also chosen for himself the wife of his boss had he not learnt how to be abased even in surplus and this led him to the next experience of suffering.
Next point of call was the prison where he was suppose to suffer, but never did he allow the situation to get at him. He was very sharp spiritually and was the joy of other fellow prisoners. Because he had learnt to live a humble life, God exalted him. He also prospered in prison. And so, when it was time for him to appear before Potipher, he had all the interpretations of the dreams through his life experiences. Simple solution to a very difficult matter, live moderately in both times of surplus and scarcity. Don’t be wasteful.
This is what our country, Nigeria has not learnt. In times of surplus, many mismanaged the economy of this nation and now that the country seem to.be experiencing scarcity, nothing was kept for to combat this times. As individuals, families and nations, we must learn this kingdom principle. Learn to abound and to be abased. The two situations are different, but the conditions of our heart remains the same. Live modestly and moderately. Live responsibly. God bless you.