I can do all things - It was not a habit which he had acquired by frequent exercise, it was a disposition which he had by grace; and he was enabled to do all by the power of an indwelling Christ. Through Him who strengtheneth me is the reading of some of the best MSS., versions, and fathers; the word Χριστῳ, Christ, being omitted.
I can do all things - From the experience which Paul had in these various circumstances of life, he comes here to the general conclusion that he could “do all things.” He could bear any trial, perform any duty, subdue any evil propensity of his nature, and meet all the temptations incident to any condition of prosperity or adversity. His own experience in the various changes of life had warranted him in arriving at this conclusion; and he now expresses the firm confidence that nothing would be required of him which he would not be able to perform. In Paul, this declaration was not a vain self-reliance, nor was it the mere result of his former experience. He knew well where the strength was to be obtained by which to do all things, and on that arm that was able to uphold him he confidently relied.
Through Christ which strengtheneth me - See the notes at John 15:5. Of the strength which Christ can impart, Paul had had abundant experience; and now his whole reliance was there. It was not in any native ability which he had; not in any vigor of body or of mind; not in any power which there was in his own resolutions; it was in the strength that he derived from the Redeemer. By that he was enabled to bear cold, fatigue, and hunger; by that, he met temptations and persecutions; and by that, he engaged in the performance of his arduous duties let us learn, hence:
(1) that we need not sink under any trial, for there is one who can strengthen us.
(2) that we need not yield to temptation. There is one who is able to make a way for our escape.
(3) that we need not be harassed, and vexed, and tortured with improper thoughts and unholy desires. There is one who can enable us to banish such thoughts from the mind, and restore the right balance to the affections of the soul.
(4) that we need not dread what is to come. Trials, temptations, poverty, want, persecution, may await us; but we need not sink into despondency. At every step of life, Christ is able to strengthen us, and can bring us triumphantly through. What a privilege it is, therefore, to be a Christian - to feel, in the trials of life, that we have one friend, unchanging and most mighty, who can always help us! How cheerfully should we engage in our duties, and meet the trials that are before us, leaning on the arm of our Almighty Redeemer! Let us not shrink from duty; let us not dread persecution let us not fear the bed of death. In all circumstances, Christ, our unchanging Friend, can uphold us. Let the eye and the affections of the heart be fixed on him; let the simple, fervent, believing prayer be directed always to him when trials come, when temptations assail, when duty presses hard upon us, and when a crowd of unholy and forbidden thoughts rush into the soul: and we shall be safe.
Christ is our example, our inspiration, our exceeding great reward. Ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.” 1 Corinthians 3:9. God is the Master Builder, but man has a part to act. He is to co-operate with God. “We are laborers together with God.” Verse 9. Never forget the words, “together with God.” 7T 39.1
Remember that working with Christ as your personal Saviour is your strength and your victory. This is the part that all are to act. To those who do this comes the assurance: “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God.” John 1:12. Christ declares: “Without Me ye can do nothing.” John 15:5. And the humble, believing soul responds: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13. 7T 39.2
Christ is the sympathetic, compassionate Redeemer. He has given His commission: “Go ye into all the world.” Mark 1:15. All must hear the message of warning. A prize of richest value is held up before those who are running the Christian race. Those who run with patience will receive a crown of life that fadeth not away. 7T 39.3Read in context »
The church at this time should have the faith once delivered to the saints, which will enable them to say boldly: “God is mine helper;” “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” The Lord bids us arise and go forward. Whenever the church at any period have forsaken their sins, and believed and walked in the truth, they have been honored of God. There is in faith and humble obedience a power that the world cannot withstand. The order of God's providence in relation to His people is progression—continual advancement in the perfection of Christian character, in the way of holiness, rising higher and higher in the clear light and knowledge and love of God, to the very close of time. Oh! why are we ever learning only the first principles of the doctrine of Christ? 5T 484.1
The Lord has rich blessings for the church if its members will seek earnestly to arouse from this perilous lukewarmness. A religion of vanity, words devoid of vitality, a character destitute of moral strength,—these are pointed out in the solemn message addressed by the True Witness to the churches, warning them against pride, worldliness, formalism, and self-sufficiency. To him that says, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing,” the Lord of heaven declares, Thou “knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” But to the lowly, the suffering, the faithful, the patient, who are alive to their weakness and insufficiency, are given words of encouragement: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” The True Witness says to all: “I know thy works.” This close scrutiny is over the churches in California. Nothing escapes His searching gaze; their faults and errors, their neglects and failures, their sinful departure from the truth, their declensions and shortcomings—all are “opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” 5T 484.2
I hope and pray that you may walk in all lowliness of mind, that you may be a blessing to one another. “Yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” The bridal lamps must be kept trimmed and burning. Our Lord delays because of His long-suffering to usward, “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” But when we, with all the redeemed, shall stand upon the sea of glass, with harps of gold and crowns of glory, and before us the immensity of eternity, then we shall see how short was the waiting period of probation. “Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when He cometh shall find watching.” 5T 485.1Read in context »
These lessons must be forced upon young believers continually, not only by precept, but by example, that in their Christian experience they may realize similar results. Let the desponding ones, those disposed to think the way to life is very trying and difficult, go to work and seek to help others. In such efforts, mingled with prayer for divine light, their own hearts will throb with the quickening influence of the grace of God; their own affections will glow with more divine fervor, and their whole Christian life will be more of a reality, more earnest, more prayerful. 4T 320.1
The minister of Christ should be a man of prayer, a man of piety; cheerful, but never coarse and rough, jesting or frivolous. A spirit of frivolity may be in keeping with the profession of clowns and theatrical actors, but it is altogether beneath the dignity of a man who is chosen to stand between the living and the dead, and to be mouthpiece for God. 4T 320.2
Every day's labor is faithfully chronicled in the books of God. As men claiming spiritual illumination, you will give moral tone to the character of all with whom you are connected. As faithful ministers of the gospel, you should bend all the energies of the mind and all the opportunities of your life to make your work wholly successful, and present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. In order to do this, you must pray earnestly. Ministers of the gospel must be in possession of that power which wrought such wonders for the humble fishermen of Galilee. 4T 320.3
Moral and intellectual powers are needed in order to discharge with fidelity the important duties devolving upon you; but these may be possessed, and yet there may be a great lack of godliness. The endowment of the Holy Spirit is indispensably essential to success in your great work. Said Christ: “Without Me ye can do nothing.” But through Christ strengthening you, you can do all things. 4T 320.4Read in context »
Dear youth, I address myself to you three. Let it be your aim to glorify God and attain His moral likeness. Invite the Spirit of God to mold your characters. Now is your golden opportunity to wash your robes of character and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. I regard this as the turning point in the destiny of each of you. Which will you choose, says Christ, Me or the world? God calls for an unconditional surrender of the heart and affections to Him. If you love friends, brothers or sisters, father or mother, houses or lands, more than Me, says Christ, you are not worthy of Me. Religion lays the soul under the greatest obligation to her claims, to walk by her principles. As the mysterious magnet points to the north, so do the claims of religion point to the glory of God. You are bound by your baptismal vows to honor your Creator and to resolutely deny self and crucify your affections and lusts, and bring even your thoughts into obedience to the will of Christ. 3T 45.1
Avoid running into temptation. When temptations surround you, and you cannot control the circumstances which expose you to them, then you may claim the promise of God, and with confidence and conscious power exclaim: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” There is strength for you all in God. But you will never feel your need of that strength which alone is able to save you, unless you feel your weakness and sinfulness. Jesus, your precious Saviour, now calls you to take your position firmly upon the platform of eternal truth. If you suffer with Him, He will crown you with glory in His everlasting kingdom. If you are willing to sacrifice all for Him, then He will be your Saviour. But if you choose your own way you will follow on in darkness until it is too late to secure the eternal reward. 3T 45.2
What have you been willing to suffer for the truth's sake? You have a very short period in which to cultivate the noble traits of your characters. You have all been, to some extent, dissatisfied and unhappy. You have had many complaints to make. You have talked unbelief and have censured others. Especially is this true of F and H. Your hearts have been filled with pride, and even with bitterness at times. Your closets have been neglected, and you have not loved the exercises of religious duties. If you had been persevering in your efforts to grow up into Christ, your living Head, you would now be strong, and competent to bless others with your influence. If you had cultivated a steady, uniform, unwavering energy you would now be strong to resist temptation. But these precious qualities can only be gained through a surrender of the soul to the claims of religion. Then the motives will be high, and the intellect and affections will be balanced by noble principles. God will work with us if we will only engage in healthy action. We must feel the necessity of uniting our human efforts and zealous action with divine power. We can stand forth in God, strong to conquer. You, Brother E, have greatly failed in energy of purpose to do and to endure. 3T 46.1Read in context »