"I can do all this through him who gives me strength." This is our text, (Philippians 4:13).
Here is practical faith. Triumphing trust. Living faith on the daily road of life.
Now, this kind of faith is for every Christian. It is not a Mt. Everest where only the few can reach. It is the plateau of spiritual achievement for all. Read verse 19 of Philippians 4.
Certainly we can't blame sinners for not believing what they ought when Christians don't believe what they ought. God is not nearly so grieved over sinners who doubt as over saints who doubt.
Daily, do you feel, "I can do all this through him who gives me strength"? God obviously wants you to have this complete confidence in Him. Let us study such a practical faith as is suggested by our text.
I. FAITH'S ASSURANCE
Confidence! How essential to success! Whether in sports or science, the expert must have confidence if he would "hit the ball."
Not: "It can be done." But: "I can do it!" Not: "It will somehow work out." But: "I can do it!" Nor even: "It shall be done." But, rather: "I SHALL DO IT." This is what our text means.
Paul the Apostle knew well how to endure severe testing. Read verses 11 and 12. Sometimes he was without funds and in great hardship, but he stood strong saying, "I can do all this." How about your needs? There is a proper way for a Christian to say, "I can!" "Victory is mine! God loves the man of faith more than the discouraged doubter.
II. FAITH'S UNLIMITED HORIZONS
"All this," says our text. That means the Christian can fully obey God. He can steadfastly resist temptation. He can endure affliction to the end.
If this text be true, it has to include you and your burden.
I once saw a little child with a great load on his shoulder. He walked easily under a weight which he could not possibly have carried. Now his father's hand was on the load. Looking at our text, we see that is the secret here too -- the Father's hand!
III. FAITH'S SOURCE OF HELP
Although our text begins with "I" and ends with "me," Christ is the center of it. He is the One said to provide the strength. He is the Mediator -- this blessed God-man. The Son of God came down to earth and joined our race to provide our connection with God.
As someone put it, We trust in an unseen but not an absent Saviour.
Those who learn of Christ and trust in Him are promised the Holy Spirit. And, "the Spirit that God has given us does not impart timidity but power and love and self-control." (II Timothy 1:7, Williams)
One can learn a lesson from the toy electric train. You see it pull with ease several cars. A moment later, however, it stalls when attempting to pull only one car. The child operator knows the trouble - a bad connection. Every Christian must learn sooner or later that our failures are generally caused, not by the weight of our burdens, but by poor connection with God and His sufficient power. "With God all things are possible," (Matthew 19:26).
IV. FAITH'S SECRET
Look at our text again: "I can do all this through him who gives me strength." There is a secret here.
God proves his chariots, not by sending them gliding down the smooth hillsides, but charging them up the rocky steeps. The shipbuilder's ability is not seen so much when his vessel rests on a balmy day in drydock, but during the challenge of storm at high seas. So it is that the Christian in trial proves the the sufficiency of His God.
God does not promise to remove all trial but to strengthen us for the trial. There are times when God does not smooth the way; He rather strengthens us. He helps us through not by changing the situation but by changing us!
Often, I learn He expects me to do it, to go through it! Always at hand, of course, is "Christ who gives me strength."
It was so when Daniel's three friends were thrown into the fiery furnace. God did not prevent this, but He brought them through it and the enemies cried out, "Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God," (Daniel 3:25).
Paul himself was nearly torn in pieces in riots at Jerusalem. As he lay imprisoned during the long, dark hours while men plotted and thirsted for his blood, "THE LORD STOOD BY HIM, AND SAID, BE OF GOOD CHEER, PAUL," (Acts 23: 11).
Notice, the prison doors did not just swing open and allow his release, but there was nearby the Christ which strengthens.
We face a very real war. That is why the Apostle reminds us to put on our full spiritual armor. "In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one." (Ephesians 6:16).
Reader, have you perchance dropped the shield of faith and turned back into the shadows of defeat? Lift it again and give the victor's shout: "I can do all this through him who gives me strength."