This week at Hope of Christ, we will continue to look at the last chapter of Philippians. Specifically verses 10-13:
I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 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
Everyone loves secrets and mysteries. Whether you’re Colonel Sanders with your 11 secret herbs and spices, or Coca Cola with your secret recipe for Coke, New Coke, Coke Classic (which was the new, new Coke, making the old new coke, the new old coke), or Coke Zero (which is the new, new, new Coke based on the old New Coke which, again, is the new old coke, recipe).
Even Paul loves mysteries.
Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen. -Romans 16.25-27
For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. -Ephesians 3:1-6
Even authors today delight in claiming that they have found the secret to life’s mysteries. It’s what sells. Write a book claiming that you’ve tried a few things; they worked for you; they may or may not work for others. See how many copies you sell. But announce to the world that you have figured out “the secret.” and watch those royalty checks roll in. But the secret has to be exciting. It has to be something that I can do by focussing more on me. In fact, If you could spend about 200 pages telling me that the secret to my happiness is just a little more selfishness and self-will and self-love and self-promotion and self-esteem, I won’t even mind (or notice the hypocrisy) of a couple pages claiming I should think about others too.
We love secrets. As long as they’re not too secret. We like secrets that are decodable.
And Paul says he has figured out the secret. He has figured out the secret to living your best life now. And it seems to be a slightly different take than others who write books focussing on that very idea. Whereas one author tells you that the secret to your best life now is, “don’t ever get satisfied with where you are,” Paul has found that the secret is actually the opposite of that advice. The secret is…
well, some secrets are better revealed Sunday mornings. But I promise one thing. It won’t be a crummy commercial.