You see, it is a question of a positive attitude toward things, is it not? It makes such a difference, the attitude that we take. “I have learned…” I have learned the secret; I have made everything yield something of a positive character. The result is: “I know…” I know how to be abased, to be set at nought, to be walked over, trampled upon, ignored, regarded as worthless; I know how to take hold of that, how not to go down under it, but to make it serve spiritual ends. I know how to abound: when people are kind and good when, as you Philippians, they send me gifts, so that I can say, “I have all things, and abound” I do not get proud and uppish, and conceited and self-sufficient, and think myself something: I know that is ruination! I have learned the perils of prosperity just as much as the perils of adversity; I have found the secret. And so, come what may, for or against; be as I may be and I am today in prison at the end of my life, I can! I do not say after all this, I cannot bear any more; but I can do all things, through Christ who strengtheneth me.’
I pass on this message, not as an elaborate address or discourse, but as a word from my heart. It is a challenge to us all as to our attitude. Our natural condition which is not mere imagination, but undoubtedly something very real would so often argue: ‘I cannot! The situation is utterly disconcerting, utterly devastating, both inside and outside. Naturally, it is the end: it is paralysis; I cannot, I just cannot.’ That is the situation, if we just look at ourselves, if we in ourselves represent the sum-total of everything. If we look at the situation, that argues finality; we may as well give it up and say: I cannot, I cannot! But what about Christ? Is there not another off-look from ourselves to ‘Christ who strengthens me’? This is not a question of a psychological effect upon ourselves in trying to be more cheerful, and to make ourselves believe something that is not true. There are the facts in ourselves, and perhaps in our circumstances: they ARE the FACTS, they are stark facts, and there is no getting away from them.
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