The key to the life of Paul is that he rejoiced always. Rejoicing is an attitude and always means it is ongoing with no end. Paul desired this for his beloved Philippians and those same words echo across the halls of history to you and I as well. Note from where Paul has come: vs. 12 satisfied (he had it all but lost it all), or hungry (often times with little to satisfy the pains in the belly), abundance (he had the title and the wealth of the world at his fingertips) or nothing/in want (2Co 11:25 Three times I was beaten with a rod. Once I received a stoning. Three times I suffered shipwreck. A night and a day I spent adrift in the open sea.) Paul has seen, experienced and tasted all that this world has to offer and through this he learned (instructed, acquired by experience, study) the secret of contentment, the secret pearl of greatest price only found in Jesus Christ.
How do we thus “learn” the secret of contentment? It begins in the mind and flows forth from our lips and our actions. 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things.” It is making that choice to move from meditating upon what could be; to what is now; to what will be. It is not something that comes naturally for God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Is 55:8) and we are all “dead in our trespasses and sins.” But when we are born anew and choose to begin to practice the art of “learning,” through the meditation upon His Word: “I will meditate upon your statutes” [Ps 119:48], it is then that we acquire the peace that passes all understanding and mind of Christ. Rom 8:6 “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.” It is then that the truth of Rom 12:2 “transformed by the renewing of our mind,” becomes a reality and our God will supply all our needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus and we can say with Paul “May glory be given to God our Father forever and ever. Amen.”