Sunday, November 15, 2009

Prayer for Longsuffering, Part III of X

Colossians 1:11-12

"Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:"

What the Apostle Prays For

First, the apostle prays that the saints might be 'strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power'.  Such language implies that it was not ordinary strength for which he here asked, but rather unusual 'glorious power' for the particular task in view.  His language argues that he had in mind an exercise of grace more difficult than any other, one from which our constitutions are so naturally remote that more than ordinary diligence and earnestness must be put forth by us at the mercy seat in obtaining this urgently needed supply.  Every act of grace by us must have an act of divine power going before it to draw it forth into exercise.

As the 'work of faith' is 'with power' (2 Thess 1:11), so the work of faith to bear afflictions requires divine strengthening of the soul; and to acquit ourselves with 'all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness' necessitates our being 'strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power.'

To be 'strengthened with all might' signifies to be mightily strengthened, to be given a supply of grace amply sufficient for the end in view.  It means spiritual energy proportioned to whatever is needed, with all the believer may have occasion for, to enable him to discharge his duty and carry himself in a manner pleasing and honouring to God.  'According to his glorious power' implies both the excellence and sufficiency of it.  The glory of God's power is most seen when it appears as overcoming power, when victory attends it, as when we read that 'Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father' (Rom. 6:4).  Thus the apostle sets over against our utter weakness the 'all might' of divine grace, and 'his glorious power' against our sinful corruption.  The special use to which this strength was to be put is 'unto all patience', that is, sufficient for the enduring of all trials; and 'longsuffering' would be patience drawn out to its greatest length; 'with joyfulness' signifies not only submitting to trials without repining, but doing so gladly, rejoicing in the Lord always.  This third petition, then, was for a supply of grace that would enable the saints to bear all trials with meek subjection, persevering constancy, and cheerfulness of spirit.

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