Comments from Colossians (1:28-29)

So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ. That’s why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ’s mighty power that works within me. (Colossians 1:28-29; New Living Translation)

Some folk say, “I pray like everything depends on God and work like everything depends on me.” It makes me smile but it also reflects a biblical tension.

TensionOn the one hand, many Christians do little to “work out their salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). They live so passively or apathetically that faith seems of little or no consequence. If anything is going to happen, God will have to find a supernatural way to pull it off on His own. No help from these people. Their faith is personal and private. They have families, careers, and hobbies to attend to. They might slip into a Christmas or Easter service but not much beyond that.

On the other hand, other believers just work their hearts out. They volunteer for everything in the church and attend every major event. They always raise their hands when things need to be done. They work tirelessly, it seems; Christian Energizer bunnies who “work hard in the Lord” (Romans 16:12).

But there IS a tension, and should be.

The Apostle Paul tells the Christians in Colosse, “That’s why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ’s mighty power that works within me.” Hang on a minute! Paul is working and struggling hard, but at the same time he depends on Christ’s mighty power that works within him? Whose strength is Paul really using or relying on?


The journey of faith is neither apathetic passivity not frenetic activity. It’s partnership. Anything less than our best effort is unworthy of our calling. But self-reliance dishonors the Presence and power of Christ..

Some days I put my shoulder to the wheel FOR Him, and while the results may impress others, the effort usually drains me or draws attention to me. However, when I put my shoulder to the wheel WITH Him, I discover that indeed “His yoke is easy and His burden is light” (Matthew 11:30).

When the journey of faith feels exhausting or futile, when we feel disillusioned or depleted it may be that we’re struggling hard in our own power. Similarly, when we assume that everything depends on Christ, with little discipline or devotion on our part, we may feel distant, disconnected, and dissatisfied.

Can we struggle hard for the Cause of Christ while also depending on (and appropriating) His mighty power? We must. But His power flows from His Presence. Only as we abide in Him will we bear much fruit.

May God grip us, guide us, and go before us today as we surrender “all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength” (Mark 12:30) to Him.

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6 Responses to Comments from Colossians (1:28-29)

  1. chuckm49 says:

    Good morning David and thank you for all of your wisdom. Miss the days when we had our lunches together, and hope we can do that again one day when you are in town. A few weeks ago myself and Mitzi went on a team event with the Bill Glass Prison Ministry. Even though We have been on these trips before I

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. chuckm49 says:

    Continuing from last post, I was feeling a bit uncomfortable. A speaker, big James Henderson was to be the key motivator for the inmates, he gave a locker room talk talk to us first. He mentioned of us being God’s Army that day. He stated that we needed to pray right there that this was a battle for the eternity for each inmate, and that this was the most important for winning souls for Christ. He went on to say that we should know that our God was leading us, but that we needed to be bold and to fight for these men in the prison yard. Lastly, he told us not to be afraid because our Lord would be at our side in all of our interactions with these men. It was life transforming to forget myself and to realize that eternity was in the balance. I have never felt such peace and assurance in proclaiming the Gospel message working side by side with Christ. It was my perspective that had to change in that moment, and as I talked with these men, I could feel His presence with me. Many men gave their life to Christ that day, it not because of me, but what God was doing through me. God and me working side by side. Blessing my great friend.

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. Scot Longyear says:

    Great words once again. Thanks for writing.

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