What comes to your mind when you think of God’s mighty power at work? A day of Pentecost, powerful preaching, thousands of people coming to Christ, dramatic displays of God’s miraculous power? Yes, sometimes God chooses to work this way, but most often God’s miraculous power at work in our lives is far less spectacular than this.
In Colossians 1:9-13 Paul prays for the Colossian believers that God would fill them with wisdom and spiritual understanding, that they would be pleasing to the Lord, and be fruitful in every good work. And then in verse 11 he prays that God would strengthen them with “all might according to His glorious power.” The word translated might (dunamis) is the word from which we get our English word dynamite. It refers to God’s miraculous power. The word translated power refers to God’s mighty power in action. Paul prays that the believers would be “strengthened will all might according to His glorious power.”
We read that and say WOW! What is God going to do with a person He infuses with that kind of power? It must be something great! It is great, but nothing so spectacular as we might expect. Paul tells us in the second half of the verse what great thing God’s power can accomplish. Strengthened for “all patience and longsuffering with joy,” this is the result of God’s miraculous power quietly at work in us making us able to bear patiently and suffer long.
The word patience can be translated endurance and it refers to a tenacity of spirit that remains unswerved even in the midst of great trials. The word longsuffering means patience or forbearance and it is almost always used in the context of patience with people—slowness in avenging wrongs. Paul uses the same word in Ephesians 4:1-2 when he tells us to walk worthy of our calling “with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love.” But this is not the kind of “grit your teeth and bear it” longsuffering, it is patience and longsuffering with joy.
Do we want God’s mighty power to be displayed in us? Do we long for God to use us in a mighty way? One of the greatest evidences of God’s mighty power at work in our lives is the ability to persevere and suffer long with cheerfulness. Most anyone can “grit their teeth and bear it,” but to be able to bear it joyfully, that is nothing short of God’s miraculous power at work!
Let’s pray for each other that God would “strengthen us with all might according to His glorious power” enabling us to persevere cheerfully through the difficulties and disappointments of the work and grant us the humility to bear with one another and forgive one another, and do it joyfully! The world around us will notice that something unusual is going on and God will receive more glory.
~ H. Blank