In reading Paul in the Bible, I am always struck by the lack of tension for Paul in thinks I think there should be tension. Obedience and God’s work in sanctification; Inheritance and earned reward; and labor and Christ’s power in us.
In his letter to the church in Colossae this is apparent in his life and ministry.
“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” (Col. 1:28-29).
For I toil… with his energy. I work; in his power. Ah. So an inexperienced, punk without pedigree can do ministry? Christ empowers, his energy meets the toil of the elder looking to protect the flock? Seems so, at least according to Paul.
I need this power. I am lazy and aloof on my own. I want to struggle with his energy and oh does it powerfully work…
The Valley of Vision prayer “A Ministers Confession” articulates my prayer for this empowerment for me, and for you, wherever you might minister.
“O God, I know that I often do thy work without they power, and sin by my dead, heartless, blind service, my lack of inward light, love, delight, my mind, heart, tongue moving without they help…”
“But thou dost show thy power by my frailty, so that the more feeble I am, the more fit to be used, for though dost pitch a tent of grace in my weakness. Help me rejoice in my infirmities and give thee praise, to acknowledge my deficiencies before other and not to be discouraged by them, that they may see thy glory more clearly.”
“Teach me that I must act by a power supernatural, whereby I can attempt things above my strength, and bear evils beyond my strength, acting for Christ in all, and have his superior power to help me…”