Christian Devotionals

"We Have the Inside Advantage"

28 We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. 29 To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.
Colossians 1:28-29 (New International Version)

In last week's devotional - "Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?" - I shared my admiration for the apostle Paul and his "whatever it takes" attitude. If you didn't read it, please click on "View more devotionals" and you will find it there. How inspiring this apostle's ministry has been for me and so many others! Regardless of hardships, disasters, beatings and physical ailments, Paul kept serving our Lord faithfully for decades. Without a doubt, this brother in Christ accomplished far more than any of his apostle counterparts as is evidenced by the globalization of the Gospel during his lifetime. Paul's epistles can sometimes be difficult to understand, so let's closely examine this passage from Colossians 1 and extract some key truths from it.

Besides spreading the Good News, Paul was a great teacher and disciple. He was not only passionate about getting people saved, he tirelessly set out to grow these new Christians to spiritual maturity. In verse 28 above, we read how he strived to provide his students with "all wisdom." What exactly does that mean anyway? The Amplified Bible defines "all wisdom" as "comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God." The goal was to impart this godly wisdom in order to make these believers "perfect in Christ." How do we become perfect in Christ? The Amplified Bible puts it this way: to be "full-grown, initiated, complete and perfect" in Christ. It doesn't mean that we will be flawless (none of us will be perfect this side of heaven), it's talking about becoming spiritually mature as we grow in faith and become knowledgeable of His Word and obedient to its precepts. Whereas being born again is a one time event where we put our faith in Christ and receive salvation, the road to spiritual maturity is a lifelong journey. It requires our being in the Word, obeying the scriptures and relying on the Holy Spirit to impart "all wisdom" to us.

The key to becoming a supernaturally effective evangelist and teacher such as Paul, is to be motivated by the love of Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Christ who dwells in the hearts of all believers). Paul shares that secret with us in verse 29:

To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.

Paul is accomplishing this impossible task of spreading the Gospel to the Gentile world through a supernatural power source: Christ's energy "powerfully working" in him. Paul acknowledges this "superhuman energy"- as the Amplified Bible calls it - as the essential component of successful ministry. Without the power of the Holy Spirit, Paul would have been discouraged, defeated and destroyed right out of the gate. The job wouldn't get done without God's help. Let's be sure to keep this in mind before we go charging off into ministry. First we need to make sure that our ministry is motivated by our love for Jesus. Next we need to be listening for our marching orders so we can respond in obedience and "go." As we move forward in His will, we need to totally rely on "His energy." This is not a sprint, it's a marathon and we need His staying power. That's how we overcome obstacles, persevere through hardships and achieve powerful results that glorify God. I for one am glad that I don't have to go it alone. Thanks for the pointers, Paul!

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