While being held in bondage in Rome, Paul wrote out a prayer for the church at Colossae. That prayer is recorded in Colossians 1:9-14. First, he prayed that the Colossians would be controlled by the will of God, walk in a manner worthy of God, pleasing God in every respect. Verses 11-12 ask that God would strengthen the Colossians (and all Christians) for a specific and somewhat surprising purpose, “strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father.” (NASU) When we ask God for power, we tend to think of preaching, healing, miracles, and things of that sort. However, that is not the purpose that Paul had in mind. Paul asked that the glorious manifest power of God would fall on Christians in order to make them steadfast and patient. The mark of a Spirit-filled mature Christian is not anointed preaching or the ability to do mighty deeds but rather the ability to keep putting one foot in front of the other in steadfast commitment to the Lord. Love is the Fruit of the Spirit and patience is one facet of love (Galatians 5:22-23). My being patient requires a mighty act of God’s power. I will not be patient in my own strength. My being patient is God’s power being made manifest.
Paul continued his prayer for us by asking that God would cause us to be joyous in giving thanks to God during our time of being steadfast and patient. Joy is the visible expression of Christ living in us. It takes the mighty power of God to cause me to patiently bear up under testing, temptation, and trial. Remaining joyful all the while requires an even greater display of God’s power. Refraining from our favorite sport, complaining, requires a miracle of God. Another mark of the Spirit-filled mature Christian is real thankfulness accompanied by real joy without complaining.
Paul did not conclude his prayer without giving us the best of all possible motivations for remaining patiently steadfast and joyously thankful. Verse 12-14 tell us that God has, “qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (NASU) God has qualified believers in Christ to share in the inheritance of Christ. We will one day live in heaven with God and apart from the very presence of sin. God has already saved us from the penalty of sin and He is currently saving us from the power of sin over us. We certainly cannot understand the full import of these verses today and I doubt that we will ever fully understand it. We cannot possibly comprehend what it means to be made qualified to inherit what God has in store for us. We cannot comprehend what it means to be transferred from the domain of darkness to the kingdom of Christ. Only helpless people need rescuing. We were and remain truly helpless. It is impossible to understand the great miracle that brought us out of blind groping in darkness to walking in the Light. We cannot truly understand the gap between man and God. We cannot grasp the enormity of the debt that we owed because of sin. We cannot really measure the price paid to offer forgiveness to us and to redeem us. Meditating on this ought to motivate us and stir up a miracle of God in our souls.