"Not that I (Paul) speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity, in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."
The author asked for us, the reader, to paraphrase this Scripture. Here's this Scripture in the ADV (amplified Duckwall version):
"God has taught me (through much training) how to be content regardless of my circumstances. It did NOT come naturally. It was something I had to learn through repetition. I've had food and money... I've also gone hungry and have been poor. In each situation, I've learned to be content. It was a "secret" that I had to discover. It was not a bit of knowledge available for all to see and attain. I had to diligently seek it to find it. The secret: true contentment is found in Christ alone. He is the One who gives me strength in all circumstances, regardless of how bleak/hopeless or wonderful/joyous the situation. He will help me. He will sustain me. He will provide for me. Keep your eyes on Christ, and contentment will become a reality in your life."
Contentment: an inner peace that is "learned" by repeatedly fixing your eyes on God and trusting Him to guide/protect/provide; accepting God's sovereign control over all of life's circumstances; accepting your "cup" in life; walking by faith; TRUST IN GOD regardless of circumstances and feelings.
Miscellaneous ramblings: It has got to be a slap in the face of God when we, as His children, don't trust in Him. Has He EVER done anything to break trust? Has He EVER broken a promise? Has He EVER failed? ABSOLUTELY NOT! So why why why is it so difficult to crawl up into His lap and entrust our lives to Him? It HAS to be our flesh that wages war against the spiritual realm. In a way, to NOT trust in God is insanity.
*For example: It is God who created the earth, the universe, the sun/moon/stars. He created our bodies... our mind, will, emotions. He is a God of intricate design and detail (as evidenced by pretty much everything in our world, esp. science). If He is so powerful, creative, wonderful, good, and awesome, then why can't we trust Him with our finances, families/children, health, future? It makes no logical sense! It's insanity. Our sin has truly made us "crazy"...
More to come...