Saturday, November 21, 2009

Prayer for Longsuffering, Part IV 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;"

Help Available as Needed

Again we see what an exalted standard of conduct is set before us, yet at the same time what blessed supplies of help are available.  Do not say such a standard is utterly unattainable when the Lord declares, 'My grace is sufficient for thee' - sufficient not only to benable you to endure 'a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet' but also to make you resolve, 'Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me' (2 Cor. 12:7,9).  Do not look in unbelief on either the number or might of your enemies or on your own weakness, but in the confidence of humble but expectant faith say, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me' (Phil. 4:13).  Is not this 'glorious strength' indeed, which enables its recipients to persevere in the path of duty notwithstanding much opposition, to bear up manfully under trials, yes, to rejoice in tribulations?  What a glorious power is this which is proportioned to all we are called upon to do and suffer, enabling us to resist the corruptions of the flesh, the allurements of the world, and the temptations of the devil: which keeps us from sinking into abject despair or making shipwreck of the faith; which causes us to hold our course to the end.

How is 'all might' secured?  Some would say it is by no endeavour of ours; we in our helplessness can do no more in obtaining grace for the soul than the parched ground can do in causing refreshing showers to descend from heaven; we must submit to God's sovereign determination and hope for the best.  But that is a denial of the Christian's responsibility.

God indeed asks nothing from the ground, for it is an inanimate and irrational creature.  But it is far different with moral agents - the more so when He has regenerated them.  'For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required' (Luke 12:48).  And much has been given to the one born of God: Christ is his in the forgiveness of sins, the Holy Ghost indwells him, life has been communicated to his soul, faith imparted to his heart; and therefore much may justly be required of him.  Grace is not some mysterious influence which fortuitously descends and enters into the Christian's heart irrespective of how he acts.  The opening words of our verse intimates the opposite, for 'strengthening' implies God's blessing on our use of suitable means - whether it is the strengthening of the body, the mind, or the spiritual life.  Observe, the first 9though not the only) means is an earnest and importunate crying to God.

No comments: