Sunday, August 18, 2019

Pray to Persevere

Pray to Persevere
August 19, 2019
1 Colossians 1:11  ". . .being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience. . ."

Paul wrote to the Colossians regarding a prayer that he had for them and it was a model for us to pray for ourselves, over our own lives. The prayer was progressive in nature, each section of the prayer building upon the previous step rather than a laundry list. The first item of the prayer was needed for the next item of prayer, meaning once the Lord honored the first portion it was then time to move on toward the next portion. The successive items (order specific): filled with the knowledge of His will through the Spirit, bearing good works from the knowledge of that will, be strengthened to persevere in those good works, have patience and endurance to make it to the end, receiving an inheritance along with Christ when it is all said and done. 

If you work it backwards, you don't get the inheritance along with Christ if you weren't patient until the end. You cannot have patience through that unless you've persevered through the hard times of those good works. Your good works are nothing unless they are in direct obedience to the Lord's will not your own. You cannot know what God's will is until the Spirit has revealed it to you through His wisdom and knowledge. It is an admirable prayer and a building-block style prayer for your life. Most Christians, however fall short of that prayer to completion. Their either miss a step or two, or they stall on one of those steps too long. Some people become Christians, and never figure out what the Lord's will is for their lives. Either they never sought the wisdom and knowledge from the Lord or they didn't like where it would lead so they ignored it in its entirety. I know some Christians who are so paranoid in getting His will correct that they never step out and begin executing it, bearing that good fruit. Some people don't like where it will lead so they pretend they never heard the Lord and yet still profess Christianity.

Maybe you got the Lord's will right at the beginning and you're half way into it and its hard, possibly too hard. Maybe now it is time to persevere through that. Paul wrote to the Romans that they needed to pray in their perseverance, because when the going gets tough some want to quit. You cannot have the full inheritance if you've quit halfway through your life. You won't have the full character that Christ requires of you if you stop part way through it all. As humans, no one likes to persevere, because that means times are tough. It isn't perseverance to sit on a beach and stare at the ocean relaxing; that requires no effort. Persevere contains the root word severe, translated as really bad. Paul says that's the epitome of your Christianity, being in the midst of something severe and staying through it when its really bad.

Paul says you're making it as a Christian if you are in the midst of severe and you stay the course. Humans like to avoid the severe because its really bad. This was Paul's whole point, you don't get to avoid the really tough part and fully accomplish the Lord's will for your life. The Lord's will for your life isn't really bad, just that portions of it will feel extreme at times.  Jesus said if we follow Him then we WILL share in His sufferings, that's part of the deal. If you get out of it when it's severe, what does that say about your character? Unfortunately, the only way to fully execute the Lord's will for your life is sticking it out when it's tough. I pray you can persevere, in the midst of the really bad is when you must pray the hardest, not to get rid of the really bad but so you can make it through it all.  The finale to Paul's prayer is gratitude for making it through. We're get there if we persevere.

Don't take my word for it; look it up: Rom 5:3-5  1 Col 1-12 

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