I know I'm showing my age here, but does anyone remember the Popeye song from the Popeye cartoons, “I'm strong to the finish cause I eats my spinach.”? As Christians, God has plans for us to become strong through the Spirit (no spinach required), increasing in endurance and patience, so that we can be powerful in tough times and joyful and thankful in everything good or bad. The Apostle Paul expresses this sentiment in Colossians 1.
Colossians 1:1-14 (NIV) “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colosse: Grace and peace to you from God our Father. We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints— the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel that has come to you. All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God's grace in all its truth. You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. 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.”
Everything in the Gospel and the whole reason for God sending us His one and only Son, (John 3:16-17), is that the world might know God more and build a relationship with Him, That's why we were created in the first place, to fellowship with God and to glorify Him.
It was not easy for the early church. Many were persecuted for the belief in Christ, especially those of Hebrew decent who accepted Jesus as the Messiah. Many of the early churches met in homes and in secret to avoid persecution. Can you imagine what it must have been like for early day Christians who were merchants and business men and women among the towns and villages? Certainly, they and their families must have suffered socially and possibly financially for their beliefs in Christ. Also, consider those that might not have been merchants or business men and women who were just part of the general population. What might have they encountered along the city streets in markets if most merchants were Hebrew or unbelievers, do you think they would have treated the early Christians kindly? Probably not.
In all of Paul's letters to these early churches: Galations, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians, etc., to each and every one of them he spoke words of encouragement and strength reminding them to persevere and remain bold in their faith in Christ Jesus building each other up, just as in fact they were doing.
This is God's plan for all the body of Christ, to be unified as one family united in Christ, loving each other just as Christ loves us and gave His life for us. It is so very important that we grow in Christ, that we gather strength through the Holy Spirit and spend time in the Word and in prayer whenever possible, so that we will grow in endurance and patience to face whatever comes our way. Do not grow weary of the daily discipleship. Stay strong in the Lord. There is strength in the name of the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:58 (NIV) ” Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
This is an old video of Sandi Patti singing In The Name Of The Lord, but it still fits the message today. Hope you enjoy it.
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