Enduring Trials and Suffering

Colossians 1:10-14 (NIV)

And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

The Letter to the Colossians is one of the four prison letters of the Apostle Paul (the others are Philemon, Ephesians, and Philippians). Paul likely wrote these letters while imprisoned in Rome awaiting trial before Caesar (Acts 28:17-31). Paul is a true example of someone who continued to serve God in the midst of difficult circumstances. Paul did not let his condition in life or his surroundings prevent him from carrying out the responsibility of spreading the Gospel message.

As I was reading Colossians this morning for a class that I am taking, I was immediately drawn to how God was speaking to me through these four verses. It’s amazing when God uses the Bible to speak to us in whatever situation we find ourselves in life. And yet, many of us fail to pick up our Bible daily and allow God to direct and guide us through another day. God is willing to reveal to us, His purpose for our lives each and every day, and the Bible is a powerful way that He has chosen to accomplish that. Our responsibility is to open up our Bible, read it, and allow God to speak to us through the Holy Spirit that lives and dwells in us as followers of Christ.

In these four verses from Colossians, you may have noticed some important aspects of our lives that God wants us to focus on. Paul writes to the believers at Colossae about how their lives should reflect the presence of the gospel message that has been preached to them. They are reminded that Paul and others are praying daily for their very lives to be transformed by the “good news” that they have heard.

Their lives should be characterized by bearing fruit, growing in the knowledge of God, having endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father who has redeemed them and forgiven them of their sins, through Jesus Christ the Son. Paul reminds them that they have been transferred from the “dominion of darkness” and brought into the “kingdom of the Son” or the “kingdom of light” because of their belief and faith in Christ.

This is a powerful reminder to us today that we should be praying daily for our lives to be transformed by meditating on the “good news” of the Gospel. I am convinced that through daily prayer and the daily reading of the Bible, God can powerfully transform our mind and our attitude so that we can bear fruit, even in the midst of difficult circumstances. As we grow in the knowledge of God, we will be “strengthened with all power,” and we will be given the endurance and patience that we need to follow Christ while living in a fallen world. And through difficult trials and dark moments in life, we must remember to joyfully give thanks to God, who redeems us and forgives us.

I encourage you to read this passage from Colossians on a daily basis to remind yourself that there is hope in the midst of darkness. God stands ready and willing to lead you out of that dark place and into the “light” of His kingdom. Don’t let despair, worry, and even difficult life circumstances bring you down. Instead, wake up each morning, open up and read your Bible, and allow God to speak to your heart through His holy word. God wants to encourage us and help us to realize the full potential of the life that He created us to live. But it is our responsibility to approach God through prayer and the reading of His word so that we can draw closer to God and allow Him to communicate with us through the Holy Spirit.

As followers of Christ, we will face difficult circumstances many times throughout our lives. Christ suffered and died for our sins, and we have the responsibility and honor to suffer also, because of the grace that God has so freely given to each of us. Look to God for renewed strength that will give you the endurance and patience that is required to finish the race. And by believing in Christ as the only way to God, you will be qualified to “share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.” Thanks be unto God, for loving us, redeeming us, and forgiving us of our many sins.

As I struggle with the daily worries and difficulties of life, I am greatly encouraged and strengthened by God’s promise that my future is already assured. By believing in Jesus Christ, I am promised eternal life in heaven where there will be no more worry, pain, suffering, or death. As believers, God stands ready and willing to transform us each and every day, to make us a little more Christ like. It is our responsibility to pray and read our Bible daily and ask to God for the renewed strength and patience to endure whatever might come our way in our daily walk with God.

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