Be Strengthened

by Eric Ryan, Pastor of Leadership Development

Hello Wildwood family! I hope that you and your family are still doing well. It is becoming apparent that, as time goes on, social distancing is growing more and more difficult. Please remember, you are not alone. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a staff member or a pastor if you are struggling.

I hope the devotionals have been helpful. We wanted you all to know how much we are thinking about you as well as see how we all have been processing this season as pastors. Most of what we have talked about has centered on a theme of rest. For the next two weeks, I thought I would share a passage that I have been holding on to personally.

"And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 being 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." Colossians 1:9-14 (ESV)

For the sake of brevity, we’ll focus this week on verse 11, and next week on the remainder of the passage.

This passage struck me during my reading one morning. Interestingly enough, some translations add a period at verse 11, but those are typically the translations that interpret phrase by phrase from the original language, rather than word by word. Most conservative translations have v.9-14 as one giant sentence.

Some quick observations and applications:

  • “...being strengthened with all power” is a description of v.10’s “so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.” Walking in the Lord’s strength is God-glorifying. Walking in our own strength is not. Therefore, me feeling at the end of myself right now and feeling like I can’t take the next step without God’s help is actually, spiritually speaking, a healthier place to be, than feeling like I am doing well and we have figured this new normal out on our own. 

  • What kind of power is Paul praying for them to be strengthened by? Power that is directly proportionate to His “glorious might.” Just think about that for a second. What if God answered that prayer for you?  Or maybe you’re reading this and not struggling as much as some of your friends and neighbors, but honestly don’t know how to pray for them. There is so much to pray for! What if you simplified your prayer, and prayed Paul’s prayer for the church in Colossae? Surely the church had problems that Paul could have named! Why did he pray this way, and not for the details? 

  • “...endurance and patience with joy.” Ok, I take it back. I’ll pass on the “power according to His glorious might” if I can have the “endurance and patience with joy”! Man, can you imagine if God answered that prayer for us right now as a church? What kind of impact would we have on our families? Not just patience, and not just endurance, but BOTH with JOY! I have endured many things in a joyless manner. Today I am going to hold on to this as a prayer.

This prayer also shows us that, as Christians, we still regularly need to be strengthened. Not some fleeting, simple kind of strengthening that comes from a creative saying, or encouraging video clip, but a strengthening that can only come from God’s glorious might. Being a Christian doesn’t guarantee you a built-in, automatic, joyful endurance, but we can pray for it in faith, believing God will provide it. And, we can pray it for others as well.

This week, I am praying this for you, Wildwood. Maybe you’ll join me? Then, let’s be watchful, expecting God to answer, and expecting to see some pretty cool things happen in the life of our church as a result. Hang in there!
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