S (Scripture): Colossians 1:9b We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 1:10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 1:11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 1:12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.
O (Observation): Paul reminds the church in Colossae that the Spirit gives all believers the wisdom and understanding to live lives worthy of the Lord. We can bear fruit, thanks to God the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Paul reminds them that patience and endurance will be part of their story…whether they like it or not.
A (Application): Patience and endurance sound nice…but who’s got time for that? The way should be paved for me, right? I’m a follower of Christ. I’ve been brought into the body of Christ through baptism. Why don’t things go my way?
Obviously, I’m being sarcastic. But to some people, being Christian means being given a special privilege. For some, being a Christian means that since God is on my side, life will be better.
Au contraire! (as the French say). Or Me Genoite! (as Paul would say). Certainly not!
I remember Shane Claiborne speaking at the 2009 ELCA Youth Gathering, and saying something to this effect:
“Before I met Christ, my life was fine. Things were going my way and I was fine and dandy. But after my encounter with Christ, my world got MESSED UP! I was no longer the one in the center of my universe. I was called to give stuff away: money, possessions, time, energy. I was called to stand up for the homeless. Man, I got arrested for feeding the homeless. Before I met Jesus, my arrest record was clean!”
The way of the cross (the way of Jesus) is filled with the need for patience and endurance. As the body of Christ, we can endure, we can be patient…together. When we can openly and honestly communicate with each other as members of the body of Christ, we can carry one another through.
Yes, we are saved. And yes, the journey may be difficult…but we are in this together.
P (Prayer): Lord, you know our need and desires. Help us to know that our road ahead will be filled with highs, lows, and in-between times. Give us patience and endurance to march forward anyway. Amen.