God's Favor | Colossians 1:24-2:5
Colossians 1:24-2:5 Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness-- the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me. I want you to know how much I am struggling for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. 5 For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.
I am focusing on Colossians 1:29 and thinking about the concept of laboring and struggling. I have experienced these endeavors in two ways. Many times I have labored and struggled on my own. I have moved ahead with an idea or dream by myself. These have been lonely journeys. They have depleted my body and soul. They have left me exhausted and discouraged. And at the end of the day I lost ground and precious time. Funny, others applauded my efforts. They were impressed by the time spent on the project and even the product. But the pats on the back echoed in my hollow heart. What I had accomplished was worthless because it was done in the flesh. At the end of the day, I knew God was not pleased with my “white washed tomb”. I had disappointed my Lord.
There have been other times when I labored and struggled with his energy. These prayerful endeavors took no less time or physical exertion. But the time had eternal significance and the energy was truly from above. These times are usually with other people who feed off the encouragement and excitement of each other. There is a felt knowledge that the efforts are pleasing to God. The body and soul is energized. Sleep is still needed. The rhythm of rest is not ignored. But there is a foundational energy that is unmistakably from God.
When I live in paragraph one, I live in growing frustration. When I live in paragraph two, I live in God’s favor.
Let’s see-- which paragraph should I live in today?