Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content.
To be contented with one's lot is a thing to be desired; to be contented with one's self is a thing to be dreaded. Our lot is that which God has been pleased to choose for us. Our self is that character or disposition which is being daily built up by our co-operation with God's grace.
I. ST. PAUL'S DISCONTENT WITH HIMSELF. (See Philippians 2:12 -14.) It is his sense of need which aroused the desire for, and therefore secured the possession of, spiritual growth. To be contented with one's own spiritual state is to prevent the possibility of spiritual progress. All progress springs out of a sense of insufficiency. "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
II. ST. PAUL'S CONTENT WITH HIS LOT. So far as worldly advantages are concerned it was not an enviable one. But he had received sufficient of his Master's Spirit to know that man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things that he possesseth. This contrast between Divine discontent and Divine content is paralleled by the "Thou shall not covet" of the Decalogue and the "Covet earnestly the best gifts" of St. Paul. - V.W.H.
Parallel VersesKJV: Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.