People often use this verse as a way of saying “I can do incredible things” through the strength of Christ. And it is certainly suggesting that. But the heart of this passage says so much more.

This tells how to be hungry! How to long, as well as how to succeed. Not just how to live in prosperity, but how to live in poverty. It is talking about suffering as well as abundance. This is not a verse about how we can improve our circumstances. It is about how we can live above, rather than under, our circumstances.

God’s strength allows us to suffer and to prosper. To hunger and to be filled. To desire and to be thankful. God’s strength gives us the power to choose a perspective that views life above the circumstances. To see and understand that when we walk in dependence, we find that He is all we need.

Jesus told the disciples “I have bread you don’t know about.” We have the resurrection power of Jesus dwelling within us and have access to the True Bread. We can be content in all circumstances when we root our deepest satisfaction in Jesus.

The great secret Paul is letting us in on is that the key to circumstances is not found in circumstances. It is found in our perspective. It’s foundation is trust. When we root our strength in dependence upon God, we tap a source of satisfaction that is unending.


“I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
– Philippians 4:12-13