Thursday, March 11, 2010

Strength to ENDURE


Colossians 1:11-14 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, (12) giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. (13) He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, (14) in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.


Paul was exposing a heresy in the Colossian church that was similar to Gnosticism. Gnostics valued the accumulation of knowledge, but Paul pointed out that knowledge in itself is empty. To be worth anything, it must lead to a changed life and right living. His prayer for the Colossians has two dimensions: (1) that they might have complete knowledge of God's will and have spiritual wisdom and understanding; (2) that their lives would produce every kind of good fruit, even as they learned to know God better and better. Knowledge is not merely to be accumulated; it should give us direction for living. Paul wanted the Colossians to be wise, but he also wanted them to use their knowledge. Knowledge of God is not a secret that only a few can discover; it is open to everyone. God wants us to learn more about him, and also to put belief into practice by helping others.

Sometimes we wonder how to pray for missionaries and other leaders we have never met. Paul had never met the Colossians, but he faithfully prayed for them. His prayers teach us how to pray for others, whether we know them or not. We can request that they (1) understand what God wants them to do, (2) gain spiritual wisdom, (3) honor and please God, (4) produce every kind of good fruit, (5) learn to know God better and better, (6) be strengthened with God's glorious power, (7) have great endurance and patience, (8) be filled with joy, and (9) give thanks always. All believers have these same basic needs. When you don't know how to pray for someone, use Paul's prayer pattern for the Colossians.


Paul lists five benefits God gives all believers through Christ: (1) He has enabled us to share in his inheritance; (2) he has rescued us from Satan's kingdom of darkness and made us his children; (3) he has brought us into his eternal Kingdom; (4) he has purchased our freedom from sin and judgment with his blood; and (5) he has forgiven all our sins. Thank God for what you have received in Christ.

At 67, Thomas Edison watched as most of his life's work went up in flames. Standing in the ashes, he turned to a friend and said, "Thank goodness all our mistakes are burned up. Now we can start again fresh!" And you can too!

Every time you risk, fail, re-evaluate, and learn from it, you have another opportunity to begin again, only better than the last time. But be warned - giving up will always look easier than standing up, and giving in will always seem more attractive than digging in.

Championship-winning NBA coach, Pat Riley, said, "There comes a moment that defines winning from losing. The true warrior understands and seizes that moment by giving an effort so intuitive that it could only be called - one from the heart."

Listen to Paul, "We pray that you'll have the strength… that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy" (Colossians 1:11 TM). That strength comes from God, and can be found daily in His Word. Have you been reading it lately?

John Maxwell writes: "After you've been knocked down and had the will to get back up, the wisdom to plan your comeback, and the courage to take action, know this: You'll experience one of those defining moments - and it will define you as either an achiever or a quitter." Prepare for that moment, because it's coming. If you do, not only will you survive it, you'll go on to greater things. Why? Because God has greater things in store for you.


"Lord, thank you for the strength to endure any difficult situation. That strength comes from You. As I walk through this struggle, Your power becomes more evident in my life. I honor you today with my praise, thanksgiving and attitude. In Jesus' name, amen!"


Dorinda said...

powerful stuff!

I always love to hear your heart and read your words!