2008-12-31 - Working To His Glory
Colossians 1:29, "And for this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me."
The Apostle Paul was a fairly amazing guy. We read in the New Testament, that he is an important figure in getting out the Good News of the Gospel of salvation to the Gentiles. The Lord also used him to write 13 of our 27 New Testament books, and thus he is still a substantial influence today. In these writings, he tells of the many struggles he underwent. In addition to planting churches, he continued to care for and carried the weight of their cares with him wherever he went. He wrote some of his letters to deal with early perversions of the truth. He suffered persecutions as great or greater than anyone recorded in the New Testament. God used him much, and he endured much while being used. In our verse above, he admits that he works (labor), but his work is not done in his own strength. We must not miss this. Paul did much, but he did it "according to His power, which mightily works within me."
Many of us also labor for Christ. We need to know that if there is any glory in what we do, or praise resulting from our work - we need to know that we simply lay it all at Christ's feet. We labor, but it is only according to His power working in us; thus, He gets all the glory. We ought to remember John 15:5, if we ever start to think that "we" are important,"for apart from Me you can do nothing." Someone might object that there is that verse which admonishes a Christian to sloth and slumber. We are often told in the Bible that sluggishness and inactivity are both virtues. Where!?! We know quite the contrary is true. We have no time to loiter. We have no time to waste. We take up the full armor of God, and hang it on our walls, because it looks pretty there. Quite the contrary, we gird ourselves with truth, put on the breastplate of righteousness, take the shield of faith and all the other elements of God's protection and provision, so that we may be active and fight. We look pretty foolish sitting on a couch, in front of a TV, wearing the full armor of God, but many of us do it. Do we put on the full armor of God and head out to the movies, to watch the latest release from Hollywood? Seems a funny image, until we think about it. Then it is just a sad and pathetic image of a Christian becoming involved the passing things that the world offers. We have a higher calling, and like Paul, we are to labor, through the mighty power of God that works within us.
The Apostle Paul went about winning souls and building up churches. God used him greatly. He can use you also, but He is not likely to use us, if we are unwilling to labor. Richard Baxter said this of ministers, but I think it is true of Christians in general, that if you are finding the Christian life easy, you will have to answer for it on the day of judgment. The Apostle Paul performed personal work. He combined reliance upon the Holy Spirit with earnest effort, and God used him. The two go together, and when they do - we know it, we see it, and we thank God for His work in ourselves, or in the person that His work is visible in. What is your gift? We all have them. What is your talent? What is it that God has given you, that He has given no one else in the same manner? Consecrate it to Jesus. Bring it to Him, and ask Him that He would use you in real, powerful ways - to His glory - while He bestows you with continued breath.
Soli Deo Gloria,