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July 24, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness—the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.”—Colossians 1:24-29 (NIV)
If you read yesterday’s devotional, then hopefully you remember how we compared our lives before and after salvation to before-and-after workout plan pictures. However, we also acknowledged how maintaining the results of a workout plan requires a lifestyle and habit change. In the same way, there’s an ongoing personal transformation that continues to occur after salvation. In today’s Scripture, Paul goes on to talk about the hardships that accompany the journey of following Jesus. I can only imagine Paul writing this letter while in Roman house arrest, yet he still says “I rejoice.” How beautiful and courageous is that!
As we continue reading, we can see why Paul confidently writes that he’s a “servant by the commission God gave [him]” demonstrating his dedication to the specific calling of God on his life. Though his specific calling involved preaching, teaching, and writing about the gospel, his overarching purpose is the same for all of us as believers: to make the Word of God known to others through our unique gifts and passions! When we follow Christ and allow Him to transform our lives, He also renews our purpose! We no longer live for ourselves, the world, or sin, but we live to know Him more and to make Him known!
Paul elaborates on this mission using a different term than usual, though. He talks about a “mystery” which God revealed to His people after it was hidden for ages. When Paul goes on to reveal this mystery, he simply says it is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Initially, we may think that is too simple to be the “mystery,” but when we look deeper into Scripture, we can understand what Paul meant. Although there were numerous prophecies in the Old Testament about the Messiah and even about salvation extending to Gentiles, there was no knowledge of the Holy Spirit permanently dwelling within the saved in the future. Even the authors of the Old Testament didn’t have the Holy Spirit within them constantly. They only felt the Spirit on occasion and for different services.
Therefore, not only does our mission and purpose in Christ motivate us to endure suffering joyfully, but the gift of the Holy Spirit, the same spirit which dwelled in Christ and resurrected Him, strengthens and energizes us to persevere as well! May we live boldly for Christ, actively pursue His mission, and still say, “I rejoice” in the face of suffering!
DIG: Our mission in Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit go hand in hand! What are some examples in the Bible or in your life of the Holy Spirit enabling Christians for the mission?
DISCOVER: Looking at those examples, think about what step(s) you have fearfully been avoiding and not relying on the Holy Spirit to enable and equip you to do.
DO: Pray the Lord would make His way clear and then take a step of faith in that direction relying upon the Holy Spirit’s strength!
Samy Rodriguez has been serving with the Calvary writing team since 2020 as a senior at Calvary Christian Academy. Before going to study communications, biblical studies, and intercultural studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University, she interned with the Calvary Communications Team and was a student leader in HSM (High School Ministry). She is passionate about communicating God’s Word and looks forward to continuing to serve in ministry after college.