Labor and Strive

As I come off of a busy season and anticipate another one, my heart cries What do I do? Why do I do what I do? Why do I labor and strive? 

As he always does so faithfully, the Lord answered my questions from four passages in his Word: Colossians 1:28–29, I Timothy 4:6–16, Hebrew 12:1–3 and Philippians 4:13–14.

First, the Lord laid out my calling. My job is to tell others about Christ, to warn and teach and to not neglect my gift. It is so easy to get sidetracked with programs and wearisome tasks. But with the Lord, it is back to the basics: Teach Christ. Use my gifts.

Next, God showed me how I am to fulfill my calling. I must train myself to be godly, set an example, be diligent, watch my life and doctrine and persevere. I need to forget what is holding me back and strain toward what is ahead. I must throw off everything that hinders this, fix my eyes on Jesus, consider him and run the race marked out for me. This isn’t easy. These verbs imply hard work, self-discipline and stick-to-it-ive-ness. I cannot do this on my own. That’s why Colossians 1:29 instructs me to depend on Christ’s mighty power that works within me.

Finally, I was reminded of my goal, my prize. I want to present my “students” to God fully mature in Christ, to save them and myself, and to not grow weary and lose heart. Keeping the goal in mind is vital. It will give me the energy to keep laboring and striving. 

I fix my eyes on you, Lord. Fill me with your power and help me run this race, this next sprint.

So I tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given me. I want to present them to God, fully mature in Christ. That’s why I labor and strive, depending on Christ’s mighty power that works in me.

Colossians 1:28–29

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