Colossians 1:9-14 (ESV)
9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; 12 giving thanks[a] to the Father, who has qualified you[b] to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
About three-and-a-half years ago now, when I started working on my
doctorate degree, a very wise disciple in the congregation who earned
his doctorate degree decades ago, gave me some extremely helpful
advice. He said to me, “Remember, the key to completing your
doctorate degree is not intelligence. It is endurance.” Now I’m not quite
sure what this individual was trying to say about my intelligence, but I
have found his advice about endurance to be most helpful. There have
been many times over the course of these past several years when I
have felt like giving up. It has, indeed, been a battle of endurance, but
now that the end is in sight, I am most thankful for this disciple’s
Paul, too, in today’s reading from Colossians encourages his fellow
Christians to be prepared to endure everything with patience. Paul
knew firsthand that the life of following Jesus was not easy. He knew
firsthand how demanding it could be to remain faithful even in the face
of hardship and persecution. He knew firsthand what it meant to suffer
on account of his discipleship to Jesus. He knew that the key to the
Christian life was not success, but rather endurance.
There are many things along the journey of faith that tempt us to give
up. Illness takes a loved one from us all too soon. Friends and family
members may not make their faith as high a priority as we do. The
complexity of our children’s schedules causes us to grow lax in
worship. The endless problems facing our world leave us feeling
helpless. We may begin asking ourselves, “What’s the point?” The
point is that when we were baptized God reached down and claimed us
as his very own daughters and sons, marking us with the cross of Christ.
That cross calls us to endure. That cross calls us to persevere. That
cross calls us out of death and into the new life that Jesus brings.
Endure in your faith. In Jesus, the finish line is in sight!
God of Faithfulness, the journey of discipleship can at times
seem long and hard. Help us to endure even throughout all the
challenges and trials that come our way. Keep our eyes firmly
focused on the finish line of eternal life with you. In Jesus’
Written by Pastor Greg Busboom