Read: Colossians 1:24-29
Today’s Scripture: “To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me” (Colossians 1:29).
One of my favorite superheroes is Captain America. In Captain America: The First Avenger, Steve Rogers wants desperately to fight against the Nazi threat in World War II. He works hard to reach that goal, but he is turned away from the Army time and time again for being too small and weak.
His will, determination, and good character eventually pay off. These admirable qualities get him noticed by Dr. Erksine who enlists Steve in the Strategic Scientific Reserve, recommending him for the super-soldier experiment. Steve continues to work hard, and an act of bravery gets him the go-ahead to receive the super-soldier serum.
With the super-soldier serum working in him, Steve Rogers, now Captain America, has the superhuman strength and power to defeat even the most formidable enemies, a feat he could not have accomplished on his own without the serum.
As believers, we, too, have a superhuman power working in us. One that is even more powerful than Captain America.
Last week, we talked about pressing on and continuing to persevere. While we know perseverance is important, how do we do that when things get hard?
In Colossians 1, Paul discusses his ministry. His mission was to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles. He did that by proclaiming Christ to people and teaching other believers how to follow Him, all with the goal of presenting them mature in Christ before God (Col. 1:27-28). He said he “strenuously contended” — labored hard — toward that goal (v. 29).
But his labor wasn’t out of his own strength. It was “with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in [him]” (v. 29).
“Energy” in this verse is the Greek word energeia. It’s the root of our English word for — you guessed it —”energy.” This may seem obvious, but there’s more to this word in this passage than just the word “energy” conveys. In the New Testament, energeia always denotes superhuman power. It occurs eight times and always refers to God’s energy except in one instance, 2 Thessalonians 2:9, where it refers to the workings of Satan.
In either case, energeia, when used in the NT, is a power beyond our human strength. It was with this superhuman power — God’s energy — that Paul could continuously work hard to proclaim the Gospel and teach the believers in the first-century church despite experiencing suffering and hardship.
This superhuman power works in all of us as believers. Like Steve Rogers, it may be difficult, even impossible, to pursue our goal in our own strength. Thankfully, God doesn’t ask us to get by with our strength alone.
With God’s limitless energy, His incredible power that’s infinitely beyond our human strength, we can persevere. We can continue on in our ministries, our walk with God, and our witness to others because God’s energy is at work in us. No matter how hard or how difficult the obstacles in our path become, we can continue the work God has called us to do because we have access to God’s superhuman power every step of the way.
Today’s Thoughts: Are there areas in your life where you’re working out of your own strength? What does God’s power working in you look like in your life or ministry?
[Today’s devotion on perseverance and strength are a part of the Weekend Word devotional series. Come back every Saturday for fresh insights from God’s Word, or follow my blog via email or WordPress to get these devotions and other content sent to your inbox.]