Monday, April 09, 2007

Resurrection Power

In Colossians 1:24-29, the apostle Paul writes:

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

Later in chapter 2:12, the apostle identifies this "powerful working" as the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. As Paul ministers and is persecuted, God provides the strength he needs to endure and to continue. And this strength is the same power that raised Christ from the dead. It is assured to those who fulfill Christ's sufferings. This is a source of tremendous encouragement to God's people and should remove some of the anxiety that comes in the face of persecution. "Can I endure? Am I strong enough? Is my faith sufficient?"

This is the secret why God's people are able to endure persecution and remain faithful to the Lord. It is not that they are heroes. They are those who receive resurrection power from the Lord during their time of need. The question is not one's own strength but the One who strengthens.

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