But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil 4: 10-13)

I have learned “how” to abound/be full, says the Apostle, and “how” to be abased and to suffer need. How, exactly? Through the strength of Christ.

So, the “how” of going through both the ups and the downs in life is something I need to “learn,” by the grace of God, because both the ups and the downs present me with potential pitfalls. If I slip away from a connection with God, “who strengthens me” with His gifts, like gratitude and humility, my “ups” can lead me to complacency, self-reliance, and reckless disregard for others, including God. And my “downs,” outside of God, and outside of His gifts of humble self-acceptance, faith and wisdom, can lead me to crippling self-pity, self-centered fear, and resentments, which trap me into going around in pointless circles.

Today let me embrace the strength of Christ, which is always on offer to me, and always essential to me, whether today brings me “ups” or “downs.” I need not fear either of these, nor go through them alone. Because “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” by His grace.

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