Posted by: SandreS | June 20, 2009

The Purpose of Abasement

I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need (Philippians 4:12).

Paul wrote “I know both how to be abased.” What was the purpose of such abasement? Why would the great apostle of God to the gentiles need to learn to be abased?

As we have already seen, the wird “abase” means “to depress; figuratively, to humiliate” and has been translated elsewhere in the King James Version as “bring low” and “humble.”

There is something in the very nature of success, achievement, advancement, wealth, prosperity, affluence and possessions that can bring pride to the heart of man, causing him to brag. There is also something very humbling to be “brought low” materially.

The divine fruit that can be brought forth in the state of deficiency is a trust and reliance upon God. A lack materially, can be used by God to bring about a lack in pride, self-importance, arrogance, conceit, and smugness. Being “brought low” has a special way in helping us to look up, and to keep things in divine perspective.

God has used this method to teach and mature many of His servants. Paul learned through abasement.

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure (II Corinthians 12:7).

Our deficiencies drive us to our Father.

If we did not trust in Him, how else could we bear our deficiencies?

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).

Our needs enable God to demonstrate His powerful grace.

Paul originally sought deliverance, but then learned that his Father’s grace was sufficient.

For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me (II Corinthians 12:8-10).

Our necessities enable us to have compassion on others.

We can only have real compassion toward others when we are able to identify with them.

Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God (II Corinthians 1:4).

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Bible Student’s Notebook


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