I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.
The language of faith resembles in form the language of boastful presumption. But the two are essentially dissimilar. So long as our ground of confidence is not in ourselves, but in Christ, it is no mark of humility, but rather a sign of unbelief and ingratitude, for one to make little of it. There is a legitimate boasting in Christ which is quite different from the boasting of the braggart in his own resources. "My soul will make her boast in the Lord" - this the humblest may say.
I. THE TRUE CHRISTIAN IS A STRONG SOUL. He is not simply pardoned the failures of past weakness; he is prepared to be more successful in future trials. For those trials he is not merely protected by Divine armor; he is also girded by Divine strength. God does not simply hide his child in the cleft of a rock while the storm passes; he also inspires him with might wherewith to face and brave and conquer the storm even out in the open. He who protects the feeble fledglings in their warm nest also braces the strong branches of the oak to wrestle with the gale. Moreover, if strength is possible to the Christian, weakness is culpable. No one can plead his feebleness as an excuse for falling when he might have been strong in the energy of God.
II. CHRIST IS THE SOURCE OF CHRISTIAN STRENGTH. We are made strong in Christ, not in ourselves. By himself the Christian is as weak as any one else. It is union with Christ that supplies Christ's strength made perfect in our weakness.
1. Christ strengthens with an inspiration of Divine energy. The language of the apostle points to a real supply of strength, not a mere sense of courage, etc. There is a positive outflow of God's might into a soul that is united to Christ.
2. Christ strengthens by his union with us. We must be in him and he in us. Then his life-power flows through us.
3. Christ strengthens though our faith. We are able to receive Christ's energy just in proportion as we trust him, as they who were cured by him had. blessings according to their faith. The energy is not in our faith, but in Christ. Still, faith is the channel of communication. Faith can move mountains, not by reason of its own inherent virtue, but because it invokes the omnipotence of God, as the engineer starts the train when he turns on the steam.
III. THERE ARE GREAT CLAIMS ON CHRISTIAN STRENGTH. It is not allowed to rust in idleness. St. Paul writes of "all things," as though there were many things to be done in the power of Christ.
1. Troubles, temptations, and changing circumstances of life must be borne with contentment. It is in regard to this requirement that the apostle more immediately records this assurance of sufficiency of strength.
2. Duties have to be fulfilled. Christ gives strength for work as well as strength for endurance. The Christian must not only stand firmly like a rock; he must put forth active power like a Samson. The calls for strength are many and various, flesh and heart fail before them; but "they that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength," so that in Christ the heaviest burden may be borne and the hardest task accomplished and the weakest soul win the victory over the most powerful foe, with a strength which is practically omnipotent, because it is derived frown an almighty source. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.