Sunday, 9 April 2017
To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily. Colossians 1:29
Paul completes Chapter 1 by moving from the third person to the first person. After this, in Chapter 2, he will continue speaking in the first person, directly giving them words of council and admonition. The words, “To this” refer to the previous verse where it said, “…we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” The transition to the singular person then occurs. In essence, “It is for this reason we do this, and for this reason I follow through with it.”
He then notes that, it is for this goal that “I also labor.” The word means to labor with both physical and mental strength to the point of weariness. Paul would exhaust himself in order to bring every man to perfection in Christ Jesus. In further explanation of that, he says that he is “striving according to His working.” The word translated as “striving,” agónizomai, indicates a struggle as if one is engaged in a wrestling match or in a battle. One can see that this is a root of the modern word for “agony.”
The words, “His working” is referring to Christ Jesus. The word is energeia, and Paul’s use of it is that of God’s power being supplied to him and through him. It is as if he was a machine, plugged into a receptacle. In that state, he was receiving energy necessary to move from one task to another because of this external supply coming into him. One can see that this is where our modern term “energy” is derived from. He was able to meet the challenges set before him because of this power which, as he says, “works in me mightily.”
This mighty power is the word dunamis. It is God’s power, supplied to him, which then results in powerful deeds and successful accomplishments. This is the root of our modern term for “dynamite.” Paul was chosen by God to transmit the message of the gospel to the Gentiles. He both labored with all of his might, and he relied fully on the power of God to continue to meet every challenge which came before him.
Life application: God has fashioned each of us to accomplish certain things, if we are willing to expend ourselves in doing them. But He hasn’t left us to simply wear ourselves out in the process. He will supply us with everything we need in order to continue to work effectively for Him. Let us not trust in our own strength, but rely on the Lord who is the One who has set the plan into motion, and who will see it through to its completion.
Lord God, there are times when we get weary from the labors we are engaged in, but if they are labors for You, and if You intend for them to be completed, You will give us the strength necessary to accomplish them. Help us to trust in You, to rely on You, and to allow You to be our Source of strength as we continue to labor for You. Surely Your power is sufficient in and through us to accomplish all things! Thank You for this assurance. Amen.