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.
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
We often talk about how a person or an event in our lives has made us feel, or even act. It's an interesting way to talk about things, because the phraseology, whether we mean it that way or not, clearly casts the blame for our actions on some external thing--The election made me mad; The car accident ruined my life; I hit him because he was asking for it. We blame things on environment, society, genetics, and the devil. Apparently even pastries are to blame, because we "couldn't resist." :)
In these verses, Paul is telling us about something that he learned that is different from that way of looking at things. He tells us that he's learned to be content, no matter what. He's learned how to get through the low points and the high points of life, whether it's hard or easy, fun or painful... basically how to be content through everything. Then he says "I can do all things through Christ." Both learning how to do all these things and be content and being able to do anything through Christ are distinctively active, taking responsibility for his own choices and reactions rather than passively blaming something else.
Today, let's try to learn some of these lessons that Paul is telling us about. Let's learn that we can be content whether we're full or hungry, in need or blessed with an abundance. Let's remember that we can do anything and overcome anything through Christ. Let's take action, and be in control of our lives rather than letting external forces dictate how we think, feel, and act. As we learn to do so, relying on Christ, we'll learn more and more of the Lessons that Paul learned, and also be able to be content in any situation. Let's ask God to teach us how to trust him, and how to make good decisions.