In Colossians 1:9b-14, Paul says the following glorious prayer for the faithful believers at Colosse:
“We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honour and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.” [NLT]
What brings me great joy in sharing this prayer is the knowledge that it is for each and every one of us who love the Lord Jesus, and for every one who decides to reach out and take His hand and invite Him into our hearts!
What an awesome God I have! For if not for Him, where would I be? These past few days have really shown me more than ever the power of my Lord to raise me up above my own self-will-run-riot.
I have struggled this week with flashes of temper seeming, but obviously not, to come out of nowhere. In addition, I have walked the low road of depression, becoming frustrated that I was ~ once again ~ allowing my apparent lack of self-control to destroy my peace. But praise be to the Lord, my Almighty God, who is victorious over this world; He promises me that I can have peace and patience in Him amidst the troubles of today if I will remain close to Him: “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33, NLT
Truly, I am more than an overcomer in Christ! How can I say this after saying I had allowed my will and not God’s will to rule in my heart? Let me take you for a short journey into the end of this past week: I was tired, cranky, and generally not how I want to be as an ambassador for my Lord. On Thursday night, I went to my church’s prayer meeting, and spent nearly the entire time in tears. The service was beautiful and inspiring, but I could not get out of myself. Then, near the end of the meeting, the pastor asked if anyone needed individual prayer. I was initially hesitant, because of my pride ~ not wanting to step forward with my eyes red and running a stream, outdone only by the streaming of my nose ~ and stopped only by the generous donations of Kleenex on the part of my fellow congregation members! Fortunately, the Holy Spirit broke down my walls of pride and shame, and I went forward ~ streaming and all!
I could not have been more blessed! My pastor prayed for me, and he gently said to me, “I know you don’t feel like doing this right now, and I know you may even feel that you cannot do this right now; but I am going to ask you to reach out and grab hold of Jesus with every ounce of strength that you have and hold on to Him for all your life’s worth!”
And that is just what I did! At that very moment, I pictured the Lord Jesus standing right there beside me, smiling with all the Love that He IS, and holding out His hands to me in the warmest invitation. I grabbed onto them in my spirit, and He lifted me out of the mire I was in and took me into His Light once again. I was free; unstuck by simply being willing to let go of the my self-pity and by listening obediently to the directive of my pastor, who is far wiser than I in the ways of the Lord. And Jesus responded to my step of faith by letting me soar like an eagle in my spirit; and the Lord brought to the outside of me the work that the Spirit was doing on the inside!
So what happened? With the Lord’s ways in my mindset, instead of my own negative thinking from the past, which I had temporarily taken a detour into, I was able to see that I do have patience because God has transferred me out of the kingdom of darkness and into His wonderful Kingdom of Light! Praise God, I am His! With the power of the Holy Spirit in my life and accessible to me for the asking ~ (I need only come before my Abba Father in prayer) ~ I can be strengthened anytime to have all the endurance and patience I need for any situation. I may not feel like I have all the endurance and patience I need when I am in a difficult situation; but my feelings have nothing to do with my faith!
My faith is based on my personal conviction and belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He died to pay the penalty for my sins so that I could be forgiven and restored to full relationship with my Heavenly Father and live eternally with Him thereafter if I will but believe in Jesus and receive Him wholeheartedly into my life. NOTHING more, NOTHING less. I can, and often do, involve my emotions to the detriment of my well-being, and in doing so, I can create havoc in the lives of those around me ~ for no reason other than loss of focus on the most important Truth in my life: that Jesus IS the Way, the Life, and the Truth. But the Lord is always right here to remind me that He IS Lord, He IS All, and He IS my Glory and the Lifter of my head.
I need only reach out for His hand, refocus myself on Him, and I am back in the Light again and out of the darkness of my old way of thinking ~ the old negativity that was ever-present before I became a new creation in Christ: “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17, NLT
This does not mean that I never think the old way; it does means I no longer live habitually by the old way. As soon as the Lord shows me that I am not thinking His way, I repent ~ I turn away from my old way of thinking, I seek His forgiveness, receive His forgiveness into my heart, and thank Him and praise Him that His mercies are new every morning! “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” Lamentations 3:22-23, NLT
Abba Father, I come to You now, and I give you praise for who You are ~ the all-powerful, all-merciful God of Creation; Most High Conqueror of all that besets us! And I thank You for Your awesome Love that sent Your One and Only begotten Son, Jesus, into this world to save anyone who will cry out to Him from where they are at in humility and honest need, admitting they need a Saviour! I thank You, Lord Jesus, because I need You. Oh, how desperately I need a Saviour, for I can in no way save my self from my self and my sin nature. But You did it for me, and I have not words adequate to express gratitude to the One who offers me eternal live in Himself. Only “Thank You, Jesus, I love you!” And may the joy I experience in knowing You and in having been transferred out of the kingdom of darkness and into Your glorious Kingdom of Light be translated, through the power of Your Holy Spirit, into a radiance that draws others into Your loving arms.
It is in Jesus’ holy and precious name that I pray these things,
Amen and amen!
by BAPearl, a member of Christians in Recovery