A Life Ready For Anything

Bible Book: Philippians  4 : 9-13
Subject: Coronavirus; Fear; Trouble; Hardship; Trials; Peace; Faith; Contentment

Philippians 4: 9-13

Intelligent people can sometimes be unbelievably foolish. In her book, Teaching A Stone to Talk, author Annie Dillard writes about the 19th-century explorers of the Franklin Expedition who tried to reach the North Pole. Annie describes the provisions they took for that hazardous journey:

"Each sailing vessel carried an auxiliary steam engine and a 12-day supply of coal for the entire projected 2 or 3-year voyage. Instead of additional coal…each ship made room for a 1,200-volume library, a hand-organ playing 50 tunes, china place settings for officers and men, cut-glass wine goblets, and sterling silver flatware. The expedition carried no special clothing for the Arctic, only the uniforms of Her Majesty's Navy." The entire crew became lost, and disaster soon followed because they were simply not prepared for the frigid wastelands.

If we are all honest, none of us saw what all was coming a few weeks ago. We were all going about our daily routines of life, when we were all astounded that such a threat could appear so suddenly. Politicians weren’t ready; medical staffs weren’t ready; grocery stores weren’t ready. But, were we ready as believers?

In 1940, the British formed their Parachute Regiment. They were known for their courage, fortitude, and ability to fight even when hungry, exhausted, and hopelessly outnumbered. They adopted a motto in Latin, Utrinque paratus (u-trinkay pa-ratis), which means “Ready For Anything!” And, that’s what I want to speak to you about today, A Life Ready For Anything.

Lead In:

When Paul wrote this letter to the church at Philippi, he is sitting in a Roman prison with no legitimate charge against him, but with no hope in sight of regaining his freedom. All of us would have completely understood if he had used this letter to complain of his circumstances, or to grumble and moan for sympathy.

Instead, Paul chose to be a victor rather than a victim by showing and demonstrating a capacity and strength to live about the circumstances he found himself facing. However, it is good to pause here and ask a question: when you are facing troubling and difficult circumstances, is it fair to say that sheer determination, decisive ambition, and passionate devotion are enough to keep your head above the water and your perspective clear enough to maintain courage and confidence?

Paul would answer with a resounding, “No!” The word “content” in (vs. 11) means “self-contained.” Now, that doesn’t mean he was self-sufficient, but rather it is describing an inward condition that was balanced to face any outward circumstance. Paul had found a secret strength that was not his own, and he discovered how to live by the power from within instead of the pressures from without.

Now, Paul also says in that verse that he had learned this. The word “learned” simply means “to know by experience.” That is, through repeated experiences in his life, he had come to this peaceful, contented conclusion. His life had reached the place where he could say, “No matter why, no matter where, no matter what, I’ve been given from God what it takes to get me through!”

Now, I want you to notice with me three simple, yet wonderful truths for what it takes to have a life ready for anything.

I. He Was Content With His Provision  (vs. 10)

Now, exactly how did Paul arrive at this contentment. He gives us some insight in

2 Corinthians 8: 9, “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”

Friend, let me tell you something: You are so rich today, if you know the Lord, and if you’re content with what he’s given you. I am telling you, that is great gain. In fact, Paul added this in

1 Timothy 6: 6-7, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”

For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. But having food and raiment let us therewith be content”

Discontentment is a plague of the soul that will take away your joy and it will take away your peace. You see, no matter how much you have, if you’re discontented, you’re really poor. So, the question is what is contentment? Contentment is not getting what you want, but it is wanting what you already have.

Now, If you’ve got clothes on your back, something to eat, and you have Jesus Christ in your heart, my dear friend, you’re blessed. Do you want to know just how rich you are? Just add up all of the things you have that money can’t buy and death can’t take away, and that’s how rich you are!

Psalm 23: 1, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.”

That doesn’t mean we will all live in a mansion with overflowing cupboards, and drive luxury cars. But, it does mean...

A. God Supplies What You Don’t Have  (vs. 19a)

Do you know why we have fear? We have fear because we think our needs are not going to be met; or, because we think that the things we think are meeting our needs are going to be taken away from us.

There are fears abounding all around us. People are afraid about their jobs and worried about their retirements. They wonder as they worry, “What if I don’t have any money for food?” Or, “What if they run out of food?”

Matthew 6: 25-26, ““..Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink” – That is, don’t worry if you’re going to get enough to eat. “Behold the fouls of the air; for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?”

Here's the logic of our Lord -- What farmer would feed his barnyard chickens and starve his beloved children? Now, you’ve probably saw when an athlete tweaks a knee or a hamstring, and they’ll say about him, “He’s day-to-day.” Guess what? We’re all day-to-day! That’s why Jesus taught us to pray in Matthew 6: 11, “Give us this day our daily bread.”

God fed the children of Israel manna from heaven, and they couldn’t can it or freeze it. It was only good for a day. Listen, He will supply what you don’t have.

B. God Sustains What You Already Have  (vs. 18b)

Psalm 55: 22, “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”

Have you ever noticed that God has an incredible way of taking what you have and stretching it a little bit and making it go further than you ever dreamed that it would go? Some of you right now are probably living on less than you ever thought you could possibly live on but God is stretching the little you have.

I’m reminded of an example in Scripture. There was a widow woman entertaining Elijah in Zarephath. Elijah asked for something to eat, and she tells him all she has is a handful of flour and a little cooking oil. But God said, “the flour barrel won’t go empty and the oil flask won’t go dry.” And, the Bible records these words in

1 Kings 17: 15, “...and she, and he, and her house did eat many days.”

Listen, our heavenly Father is a very experienced One. He is fully aware of how to sustain what you already have. He knows how to bless it, break it, and multiply it. Solomon wrote in

Psalm 37: 16, “A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.”

Now, how could a little bit in a man’s hand be more valuable than a handful of the riches over here? Well, it has nothing to do with what’s in the hand, but rather whose hand it’s in.

C. God Satisfies What You Can’t Have  (vs. 11)

Hebrews 13: 5, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

And one of the best things that could ever happen to the child of God is when you can come to the place where you say, “I don’t make a million dollars, I don’t own a thousand acres, I don’t live in a mansion, but the good news is, I don’t care.” Because God has given me grace and peace about what I can’t have.

Our God is a God who anticipates needs and provides ahead of time. God knew that we needed salvation, so Jesus was slain before the foundation of the world. Before you were ever born, Jesus had already died for you. Now, just how do I KNOW that God will provide for us in our darkest and greatest hour of need?

Hebrews 2: 17, “Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto his brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.”

The word “behoved” literally means “obligated.” Now, if God felt obligated enough to provide a means of salvation, do you not think He’s obligated to provide a daily means of supply? He’s not a dead-beat Father, but a Father that stands by His Word to us!

Now, one of the things that is happening right now is this: everything we have ever learned, every principle and precept that we have ever heard is all being tested. Here’s the thought I want to put in your mind: If the promises of God are not good all of the time, then they are not good any of the time!

II. He Was Courageous With His Problems (vs. 12)

The word “abased” is describing a river running low, and the word “abound” is describing a river overflowing. Now, notice here, he is not saying he has just merely faced these things in life, but that he had learned “how to.” What brought him to such a peaceful resolve amidst the trials of life? He gives us some insight in

Romans 8: 28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

This is not a vague opinion. He says, “We know.” He doesn’t say this applies to some things, or a few things, or even most things, but all things work together for good. This phrase “work together” is a pharmaceutical term describing mixing together all the right ingredients. What that says to us is, God is able to take the good, the bad, and ugly of our lives, and He mixes them with the hand of His love and they become to us that which is good.

A. The Gracious Things Of Life

Thank God for the kiss of a baby. Thank God for the love of a mother. Thank God for friendship. Thank God for health.  Thank God for happiness. Thank God for the church. Thank God for all of these good gifts.

James 1: 17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above…”

I think of Pharaoh, that mighty ruler of Egypt, who had decreed that all the little boy babies would be put to death.  But, Moses’ mother hid him in the bulrushes. There's a verse of Scripture that says, “…the babe wept…” (Exodus 2:6).

Pharaoh's daughter heard that baby crying and her maternal instincts kicked in, and she went and found him and raised him. He became mighty Moses that led the children of Israel out of Egypt, and brought about the demise of that great monarchy. And, the event that got the ball rolling was a baby's cry.

B. The Graphic Things Of Life

If a man sins then he will suffer and he will be hurt. But, when Simon Peter cursed, and swore, and denied the Lord Jesus Christ, Jesus said to him in

Luke 22: 32, Simon, “But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”

Jesus was telling Peter that what he did was incredibly shameful. But, He’s letting Peter know that he’s going to come out on the other side. And, even the sin that he had committed is going to be used as a platform to help and strengthen others.

Isn't it amazing how God works all things together for good? Peter suffered, and he wept bitterly. But, he learned the truth of

Romans 5: 20, “…where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.”

C. The Grievous Things Of Life

In Genesis 50, you will find one of the finest men in the Bible whose name was Joseph. But, as you read his story, you find that he was betrayed by his brothers. He was put into a pit and left for dead, and, when they brought him out of that pit, they sold him into slavery. During his time in slavery, he was falsely accused and cast into prison. He was maligned and ridiculed.

But, when he rises from the prison house to second in command in Egypt, those same brothers that did it to him, are now in need of food during a time of famine. Listen to Joseph’s conclusion to it all in

Genesis 50: 20, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good…”

That doesn't mean that they had meant it for good. That didn't mean what they had done was good. That doesn't mean that all the pain and sorrow he went through was good. But, God was taking everything that happened in Joseph’s life and was working it all together for good.

We look at circumstances and sometimes we say this is good or that is bad. But, we must learn to wait till God is finished.

Illustration: You see, if you have some salt, some flour, and some dough, separately, none of them are edible by themselves. But, when they are mixed together, they become wonderful, delicious Hardee’s biscuits!

2 Corinthians 4: 15, “For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.”

III. He Was Confident With His Position  (vs. 13)

Now, Paul was very aware of the difficulties and trials of his life. But, he also was very aware of who he was in Christ. You’ll notice he says his strength comes “through Christ.” So, what he did was take the worst of the worst of his life, and he put it up against the backdrop of eternity, and he confidently said this in..

2 Timothy 1: 12, “...for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”

A. Our Foundation Is Sure

Listen, we have been given you a foundation, a bedrock, a rock of ages, that you can stand upon and therefore you can say, ‘I know that I’m saved.’” Friend, this thing called “faith” has some spiritual steel and concrete in it.

1 Corinthians 3: 10-11, “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

We have a saying we have all heard or used: “I’ve hit the bottom.” Listen, when you reach the bottom, you will find out that it’s solid; it’s the hand of God Himself!

B. Our Fellowship Is Steadfast

Romans 8: 35, “Who shall separate us from the love of God?”

Now the devil will tell you when you go through heartaches, trials, tribulations, and problems, that God doesn’t love you. That is a black lie.

Warren Weirsbe,

“You’d better not try to get your theology from circumstances. If you do, you’ll come to the conclusion that God doesn’t love you.”

Paul then mentions a list of enemies the devil would like for you to believe can separate you from the love of God.

Romans 8: 38-39, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

All of these things don’t separate us from the love of God. To the contrary, they draw the child of God even closer to Him. You are loved, my friend. We may have the coronavirus in our world, but never forget, we’ve also got God!

C. Our Future Is Secure

In 2 Timothy 1: 12 again, notice the word “committed.” It means, “to make a deposit with an anticipated return.” Paul saw that his destiny was settled in heaven. So, here is the logic of his contentment: if God has taken care of my past and forgiven me, and He’s taken care of my future and secured it for me, doesn’t it make sense that He can take care of the nasty now-and-now?

Hebrews 6: 19, “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both steadfast and sure...”

So, how do we get hope out of affliction, pressure, difficulties, sorrows, pain, trials, and sufferings? Well, when we go through these things and we come out the other side, we learn that God is faithful. God did not fail. Our anchor held, and God did see us through!


While on a South Pole expedition, British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton left a few men on Elephant Island, promising that he would return. Later, when he tried to go back, huge icebergs blocked the way.

But, suddenly, as if by a miracle, an avenue opened in the ice and Shackleton was able to get through. His men, ready and waiting, quickly scrambled aboard. No sooner had the ship cleared the island than the ice crashed together behind them.

Once they were out of harm’s way, the explorer said to his men, "It was fortunate you were all packed and ready to go!" He then inquired how it was that each man was fully prepared to depart on a moment’s notice. He was told that every morning the leader of the group rolled up his sleeping bag and shouted, “Get your things, together, boys. The boss may come today.”

The secret of being ready for the last moment is by being ready at every moment. How important for us as Christians to be "packed and ready to go!"