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.
I hate having an aimless day when I have tons to do but no real direction. If I don’t make a plan I will appear very busy and yet accomplish nothing and at the end of the day I feel frustrated and annoyed with myself.
This can happen in life as well. We have a lot that we are responsible for, at home, within our marriage, concerning our children and within our friendships. It is easy to have lots of good intentions but accomplish nothing; to spend our time pursuing lesser things while the big stuff is forgotten or neglected.
I love these verses at the end of Colossians 1. God has been very gracious to us in that he used Paul to make very clear to us what the goal and mission of the church is, namely to “present everyone mature in Christ.” It is so important to Paul that he is willing to face difficulty, be imprisoned, and even face death.
Yet, this is not only the mission of the church. It is our mission as well. To present everyone that we are responsible for mature in Christ. Wow, that is a huge undertaking. And this is something we must throw ourselves wholeheartedly into.
Paul works to help others grow in maturity in three way.
Paul “warns” everyone. What does he warn about? Throughout his writings we see Paul warn others about the wrath of God, the danger of sin, the lies of the world, and the deceitfulness of the devil. He warns that an alliance with the world will lead to our demise and that a life without God will bring about an awful judgement and ultimately eternal death.
But Paul laces everything with grace, always pointing back to Christ who is our salvation in all areas. He does not speak condescendingly or unkindly. He does not address others in a holier than thou manner, but instead always points to the hope of the gospel as a fellow sinner.
Do we do this as wives and mothers? Do we warn those whom God has placed in our path? This might be easier to do this with our children since we are around them all the time and they are so clearly in our care, but do we speak into the lives of our husband or our friends, even when the truth is hard to say? Do we speak directly, yet with compassion and love? Is kindness always on our tongue? (Prov. 31: 26)
Paul doesn’t only kindly warn people, but he also teaches. His main message is Christ! His life, death and resurrection. He speaks about Christ being worthy, supreme, and the savior. He preached boldly without excuse or embarrassment.
How are we doing with this? It is great to collect all kinds of family devotionals and character studies, but are we teaching our children scripture? We also have a responsibility towards our friends. This does not mean you have to prepare an in depth bible study and lecture them every time they come over. But it does mean that we learn to speak truth into each others lives in forms of encouragement, godly wisdom and counsel or simply a “hey I just studied this today and I had to share it with you”.
The same goes for our husbands. We need to share with them what we are reading and learning. When someone is excited about something it can be infectious. Hopefully our excitement for God’s word will encourage and excite others especially our spouses.
3. Hard Work and Divine Power
All of this is hard work. Paul calls it a “toiling.” The mission is anything but easy and Paul does not attempt such a task in his own strength. He says, “For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.”
He knows that he is weak, prone to get sidetracked, tempted to give up and become discouraged or maybe even lazy (or maybe that’s just me). He is clear that the energy he uses is not his but Christ’s. It is Christ who works through Paul’s faithfulness and hard work. If we work in our own strength we will quit! We will burn out, lose interest and enthusiasm and grow very tired and discouraged. We must always do our work in the strength of Christ.
Working in the power provided by Christ means doing the work in faith, trusting Jesus to change hearts and use imperfect people like us. It means we engage in such work prayerfully in an attitude of enthusiastic dependency.
Do you know your mission? How do you warn and teach others?
Looking to Jesus,