Philippians 4:11-13 – Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
The apostle Paul admitted in Romans 7 that the command, “You shall not covet” was one with which he really struggled. In fact, he said he was full of “all kinds of covetousness” (Romans 7:8). He clearly struggled being thankful for what he had, so we can safely assume that if he was coveting, that he was also jealousy and envious. It all goes together.
But later in Paul’s life, Paul had “learned” to be content in whatever situation he found himself. Through the work of the Holy Spirit in his heart, he transformed from a covetous, envious person to a contented person. Take note that he wrote Philippians from prison in Rome. He took a pretty hard route to get there, too. Just read Acts 21-28 to see what he endured. Yet, he had learned the secret of facing life’s ups and downs.
Look at Paul’s focus, just in the book of Philippians:
- Paul chose to be thankful (Philippians 1:3-6; 4:6). Thankfulness is a choice and it is powerful to help us through anxieties, envy, etc.
- Bad things happened to him, but he made a choice to see how those events actually turned out to further the gospel (Philippians 1:12-14).
- Even when others were preaching with evil motives while he’s in jail, he pointed out that at least Jesus was preached (Philippians 1:15-18).
- He was determined to think of the good work of Jesus in himself and others, even if bad things happened to him while good things happened to others (Philippians 1:6; 2:12-14).
- Paul made a decision to set aside his own righteousness, and to be filled with God’s righteousness (Philippians 3:8-10).
- His mindset was not on the past, but on moving forward (Philippians 3:12-14).
- Paul chose positive, spiritually minded people for his company. Look at how he spoke of men like Timothy and Epaphroditus in chapter 2. Find contented Christians and make them your pattern to follow (Philippians 3:17-19).
- He learned to view heaven as his home, and that eventually changed his perspective on how he saw things on this earth (Philippians 3:20-21).
If we find ourselves being jealous, envious and covetousness, we can take some time to prayerfully meditate upon Philippians. Paul was a man that transformed from covetousness to peaceful contentment. The Holy Spirit can do that same work through you.
Other articles on jealousy, envy and covetousness:
Monday – It was because of envy
Tuesday – What is jealousy?
Wednesday – Jealousy versus envy
Thursday – Signs you are jealous or envious