Have you ever thought about the difficulty of remaining faithful in fullness? Many of us are far more likely to remain steadfast in the storms of life than in our successes. How easy it is, while riding the crest of the wave of success, to forget who sent the wave and placed us safely on top of it! Charles Spurgeon profoundly underscored this truth:
The Christian far oftener disgraces his profession in prosperity than in adversity. It is a dangerous thing to be prosperous. The crucible of adversity is a less severe trial to the Christian than the fining-pot of prosperity. Oh, what leanness of soul and neglect of spiritual things have been brought on through the very mercies and bounties of God!
How sad to be doing well in life and forget the Well from which we have been given the privilege to drink! But this is not for you . . . and the apostle Paul provides some great insight for us all.
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. (Philippians 4:12)
How instructive to read about the life of Paul, who knew how to be just as faithful in fullness as he was in emptiness. Most of us have a tendency to believe it easy to walk by faith when we are walking in fullness. But this is not necessarily true! God is well aware of the sinful proclivity of our hearts and warned the people of Israel:
When the Lord your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. (Deuteronomy 6:10-12)
Fullness often makes us forgetful. We forget the Giver of the gift. We forget the grace of the gift. We forget the goal of the gift. Spurgeon said, “Satisfied with earth, we are content to do without heaven.” God in His grace gives us good gifts for the goal of blessing others and advancing the cause of His kingdom, not to relax our focus and forget our Redeemer.
Paul knew how to be faithful “in any and every circumstance” because he never lost sight of the reason for his fullness. He knew that what he had he had been given was because of God’s grace, not his own goodness. He never forgot that the more he had, the more he was in debt to the One who had given it to him. So, with a heart filled with gratitude, Paul progressed further up and further into his calling, regardless of the circumstance he found himself in . . . even to the point of being faithful in his fullness.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!