I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.
The more literal rendering is "I am strong for all things"; or, "I am equal to all things, Christ invigorating me," either doing or suffering. Let us look at —
I. CHRIST STRENGTHENING PAUL.
1. Every man needs strength. Weakness is so much less of life. Lack of strength is more serious than any rack of outward possession. A weak rich man is in a worse position than a strong poor man. Weakness lessens work, reduces enjoyment, and aggravates suffering. It is also the cause of wickedness, exposing the individual to fierce temptation. As a preservative against sin we need to ask for daily strength.
2. Every man requires strengthening. Even the strong by constitution and education. The child learning to walk alone is strengthened by the hand of the mother, and the aged mother is in return strengthened by the arm of her son. The boy is strengthened to learn by his tutor or employer, and the man to pursue the objects of life by various invigorating influences; while all are strengthened by God.
3. The Christian is no exception. His conversion is not translation to ease. There are times when he lies down in green pastures; but he lies down tired, and that he may rise stronger. We rest not for resting's sake but for work's sake. The Christian life is a race to be run and a battle to be fought. To cease either is to cease to be a Christian.
4. A Christian's strength can come only by his being strengthened. There is not within the man as a man or a Christian any stock of strength given at the commencement. Our resources are supplied as we need them. This arrangement keeps us close to the source of all energy and wisdom, communion with whom alone, apart from imparted blessings, invigorates.
5. An apostle is no exception to this rule. On the battlefield the eye of the soldier is upon the officers of the opposing army. So ministers are more tried than others, partly because of their vocation, and partly that they may have wisdom and grace to succour the tempted.
6. And Christ did strengthen Paul. By His example, grace, promises, doctrines, precepts,
II. PAUL HEREBY ASSURED THAT ALL THINGS WERE POSSIBLE TO HIM. He felt equal to labour, suffering, and dying. Yet this was not undue self-confidence, but humility.
1. if we Christians are not equal to all the demands which God makes upon us our in. ability involves guilt. Weakness is not a misfortune but a crime, needing not pity but blame. Christ does not require anything impossible or injuriously difficult, nothing for which He does not guarantee strength.
2. The Divine help is manifold and constant. Look at the assistance obtained from —
(1) The Scriptures, which thoroughly furnish us unto all good works.
(2) Providence, under which all things work together for our good.
(3) Christian principle — faith, love, hope, joy, obedience.
3. If we turn from this various help to Christ personally and then remember that He is with us, immutable in His love, unfailing in His resources, unwearied in His oversight, we can understand what Paul meant.
(1) I cannot do many things which my fellow Christians say is my duty;
(2) Nor what in my ignorance I conclude to be my duty;
(3) Nor what is actually my duty, if I go about it in a wrong spirit or way;
(4) But Christ will strengthen us for all His will.What can hinder? Not our ignorance, for He is our teacher; not our feebleness, for He never breaks the bruised reed; not our sinfulness, for He is our Saviour.
4. This assurance covers all the necessities of our Christian life — perseverance, cross-bearing and self-crucifixion, Christian work, the prospect and experience of death.
Parallel VersesKJV: I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.