walk in the word
Category: Relying on God
Ever feel wasted? Ever dealt with circumstances or people that have left you totally drained and lacking energy in your service for God? I have. Although I try hard to support and encourage people, there are times when it seems like everyone in the world needs my attention. Don’t get me wrong—I love to help. But sometimes you get to the point where you can’t talk to one more person; there’s nothing left to give. You need a strength that transcends your own.
Colossians 1:11 offers such strength. In it Paul prays that believers would be strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy. This verse says that we should rely not upon our own strength but upon God’s inexhaustible supply.
This is not a one-time deal. The original wording implies continuous need and continuous supply. God does not come and say, “Need some strength? Here’s a booster shot. Now come back in a year.” It’s more like an IV with a continuous flow—God continuously gives us the strength we need.
The phrase according to His glorious power could be paraphrased, “empowered from God’s inexhaustible reservoir.” There is never a time when you come to God, and he says, “I’m kind of short right now. Could you come back on Thursday?” His resources for us are limitless.
When do we need strength the most? Notice the purpose given at the end of the verse: for all patience and longsuffering with joy. We need God’s strength so we’ll be patient during trials. Now patience is not rocking-chair acceptance: “Oh well. Here we go again.” It’s more like a soldier: an active, unrelenting endeavor so I won’t quit, so I won’t run, so I won’t fail.
I remember seeing on the news once the devastation caused by a tornado: whole neighborhoods were just leveled. A college student came forward, obviously devastated, with a pile of rubble that had been his home in the background. His parents had been in bed when the tornado hit, and it had picked them up and thrown them across the street. They were found dead in each other’s embrace. The reporter asked the young man what he thought of all the people who were helping him, and he said, “I think that God is good.” Then they said, “This must be so hard for you. What would your parents want for you now?” He looked right into the camera and said, “My parents would want me to walk by faith and not by sight.” Patience is the God-given ability to remain under something, no matter how hard it gets.
Sometimes it’s not the circumstance but the people. Whereas patience is getting through difficult circumstances, longsuffering is dealing with difficult people; it is virtue in the face of provocation. Job went through a major trial and lost everything except the one thing he should have lost—his wife! She is the worst wife in the Bible. While Job was trying to bear up under everything, she said, “Hey Job! Curse God and die!” What kind of a wife is that? We need strength not only to get through difficult circumstances, but also to handle the difficult people in our lives in a way that honors Christ.
So if you are up against circumstances or people that are draining your strength and leaving you wasted, don’t rely on your own strength. Rely on God’s, and then you’ll have all the strength you need.
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