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Harder to be Full than Empty

I know how to abound.

Philippians 4:12

There are many who know "how to be brought low" who have not learned "how to abound." When they are set upon the top of a pinnacle their heads grow dizzy, and they are ready to fall. The Christian disgraces his profession more often in prosperity than in adversity.

It is a dangerous thing to be prosperous. The crucible of adversity is a less severe trial for the Christian than the place of prosperity. What leanness of soul and neglect of spiritual things have been brought on through the very mercies and bounties of God!

Yet this is not a matter of necessity, for the apostle tells us that he knew how to abound. When he had much, he knew how to use it. Abundant grace enabled him to bear abundant prosperity. When he had a full sail he was loaded with much ballast, and so floated safely. It needs more than human skill to carry the brimming cup of earthly joy with a steady hand; yet Paul had learned that skill, for he declares, "In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger."

It is a divine lesson to know how to be full, for the Israelites were full once, but while the food was still in their mouths, the wrath of God came upon them. Many have asked for mercies, that they might satisfy their own hearts' lust. Fullness of bread has often made fullness of blood, and that has brought on emptiness of spirit.

When we have plenty of God's providential mercies, it often happens that we have but little of God's grace, and little gratitude for the blessings we have received. We are full, and we forget God: Satisfied with earth, we are content to do without heaven.

Rest assured, it is harder to know how to be full than it is to know how to be hungry--so desperate is the tendency of human nature to pride and forgetfulness of God. Take care that you ask in your prayers that God would teach you how to be full.

Let not the gifts Thy love bestows
Estrange our hearts from Thee.

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Back to the Basics Again (Part 4 of 4)

Back to the Basics Again  (Part 4 of 4)

In Paul’s final letter to the young pastor Timothy, he charged him to remain faithful to the teaching of God’s Word. That same charge is laid on pastors and ministry leaders today. We’re looking at the basic foundations of a biblical ministry on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


Devotional material is taken from “Morning and Evening,” written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg. Copyright (c) 2003, Good News Publishers and used by Truth For Life with written permission. Today’s Bible Reading material is taken from McCheyne Bible reading plan and used by Truth For Life with permission. Scripture quotations are taken from Holy Bible: English Standard Version, copyright (c) 2001, Good News Publishers.