Learning is key number one. Paul tells us that he has learned. The verb tense tells us that it took some effort and time. It's like when you first start to play the piano. You have to keep at it. You practice until you learn how to do it. Being content is like that. You can't just sit down at the paino bench and expect to play Mozart. You build up to it. Sometimes it takes days, weeks, months and even years to master. This is what Paul was writing about. He had to go through the training in order to learn. Paul didn't just one day wake up and say oh I have contentment in my life now. No he went through a lot of things to get to a place where he could honestly pen the words I have learned to be content.
I can only imagine that before his conversion Paul was a disciplined man. He was a Pharisee among the strictest sect of Jewish religious zealots and leaders. He would have know the first 4 books of the Old Testament by memory. Not to mention the 600 plus additional "rules" laid out by man's attempt to be holy. He was a smart man and had the ability to store and retrieve knowledge in his brain. Once Paul switched camps and became a true believer he didn't waste all his knowledge. He put it to good use for the sake of the Gospel. He used all the circumstances in his life as training material. He recorded it all in his brain and then made mental notes. He kept his eyes on the prize. Think about the long list of hardships Paul endured. Here is a list:
- Beaten countless times
- Danger of death
- Shipwrecked 3 times
- Snake Bitten
Sometimes learning comes with a steep price and the "learning curve" comes out of now where. Or should I say you have no idea how on earth it will be possible to learn form this situation. In the end Paul is able to write down what he has learned and share his wealth of knowledge. I often wonder if he gave any thought as to the vast impact of his writings. Time has surely seasoned his writings and enabled all of us to learn from his experiences. What a privilege for Paul to be used in such an amazing way. Proof again that God uses ALL things for His glory and nothing -- nothing -- is ever wasted for the sake of the Kingdom of Christ.