Philippians 4:13 - I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
The assurance that St. Paul stresses in his letter to the Philippians is sobering. Please do not think for a moment that the apostle to the Gentiles exaggerates when he declares with certainty what he is capable of by the power of Christ. It is an unbelievable promise of many Scripture passages that the believer through Jesus has heavenly power.
Hear these pledges of the Lord: "For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, ... nothing will be impossible for you" (Matthew 17:20) and "All things are possible for one who believes" (Mark 9:23b). You can know that heaven and earth shall pass away before these guarantees of divine strength are broken.
With Christ's compassion fortifying your soul, you can face the foes that seek to tear you from your faith and declare, "I, too, can do all things through our Savior." With Christ in me, and I in Him—together we can defeat the regiments of ruin surrounding me. This is done not with brazen boasting, but with a deep-rooted conviction, knowing that "through Him," through Christ, we can do all things.
Because of this truth, the living knowledge that is ours, we can triumph over the adversity and loss that would bring us down and lay us low. Difficulties which make unbelievers surrender in despair can be the means of bringing us closer to God's own Son, strengthening our faith, deepening our trust, purifying our love. How is this so? It is because we know that by the miracle of His mercy, "all things," including the most staggering blows, "work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28b)
Jesus is the assurance of your victory over the things in life that would keep you down. Through His Easter conquest of the grave you have a title to your prepared place in the heavenly mansions. Pain, while difficult, is only a temporary annoyance for every disciple, as passing from sorrow to unspeakable joy. The decay of the grave gives way to the resurrection of the body. The separation at Christian funerals prepares for the never-ending reunion in our better homeland.
In short, my beloved in the faith, let all the enemies of your soul stand in array against you! Let the devil whisper that there can be no pardon for your sins! Let your conscience protest that you have sinned too often to be received and restored! Let the world mock and scoff—and it will! As you clasp your Savior's hand more closely, cry out in this triumph of trust: "'I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.' With Him at my side, I can shatter all the opposition that earth and hell can mobilize against me."
The question for each of us then is this: "Are you with Christ or without Him?" In reply, may our Heavenly Father grant every one of us the contrite, yet confident faith which answers, "I am with Christ, my God, my Savior, my Lord, from now to all eternity!"
WE PRAY: Heavenly Father, help us find our strength in Your Son Jesus. In His Name we pray. Amen.
From "Are You With or Without Christ?" a sermon by Rev. Dr. Walter A. Maier, the first Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
1. What kind of physical exercises do you most like to do?
2. How has God's strength carried you through a difficult time?
3. How can we be strong for others?
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