How often have we failed, where we had the greatest confidence; and fallen, where we thought ourselves most secure; enemies we disdained overcame us, temptations we thought light of have thrown us down. To be sensible of our own weakness, is the way to be strong: none will trust God but those who cannot trust themselves; none lean on Christ, till they feel themselves sinking.
The subject before us can be understood only by Christian warriors, and it is understood by all who have any knowledge of themselves. Though it appears a contradiction, yet it agrees exactly with the experience of every believer; the more he feels of his own weakness, the more he applies to his Lord; and the more he applies, the more strength is communicated. If ever we are strong, it must not be in ourselves, but strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might; strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus: we are commanded to have no confidence in the flesh. This weanedness from self and oneness with the Lord is the main study of a Christian’s life; it is one of the greatest difficulties, to learn that we are perfect weakness. We may learn the truth in a study; I could teach you all in a fortnight: but life is short enough to learn, that of ourselves we have no power to help ourselves. What strength have we to stand before the holy law of God? to break through all the chains that tie down our captive souls from glorious liberty — from running the race set before us? What strength have we to open prison doors — to subdue spiritual enemies — Satan, the world, and the cheating of our own hearts? What power to do all the work, which the Lord has given us to perform?