“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.”
C O L O S S I A N S 1 : 9 – 1 2
Let’s begin by breaking down these verses a little. The author, Paul, is praying for God’s people:
- To be filled with the knowledge of His will.
- To walk in a manner that’s worthy of the Lord.
- To bear good fruit (Galatians 5:22-23).
- To be increasing in knowledge of God.
- To be strengthened in power given by the Lord.
- To have patient endurance with joy.
- To be grateful towards God who blessed you with an eternal inheritance.
Quickly reread through the list once more, but this time ask yourself if you would desire each of those points for yourself. Most of us might say: “yeah, duh.” 🙄
But, I want to really zone in on number 6 of our list: “I desire to have patient endurance with joy.” Sounds good right? Well, in order to develop and benefit from patient endurance, we need to understand what it means… or what it doesn’t mean.
Patient Endurance ≠ A Waiting Room.
Often times, difficult things happen. Some circumstances in your life may seem unfair or even painful to get through! Or, maybe you are dealing with temptations that you know draws you away from the Lord and His will for your life. Or maybe, you are waiting for your circumstances to change or improve; hoping that your dreams will one day become a reality. The bottom line is, there are times in our lives where we pray and beg God to intervene on our behalf and change something!
So after we pray and ask, what do we do? Well, we want to do the right thing, so we wait! We wait for the Lord. We surrender our pain or our circumstance and we wait. Here’s the thing… we do this, because we believe it’s what we are called to do. We don’t want to take matters into our own hands, because we know that God is ultimately the only One that really knows what you need in order to fix your situation. Our heart’s may be in the right place when we do this, but we must recognize that we are not called to merely wait, but we are called to patiently endure in life.
I once heard someone say that patient endurance is not like sitting in a waiting room, and I just loved it! God will move and He will give an answer to your call (whether it’s what you want to hear or not), but He expects us to continue to move forward as we wait for His response. This life is a marathon and we must develop our patient endurance. In fact, we must learn to patiently endure with JOY! How is this possible? How are we to go through the most difficult seasons of our life with joy and patient endurance?
What does it look like?
Imagine going through life and all it has to offer completely confident that:
- God is good,
- He is trustworthy,
- He has given you His word to fight lies with His truth,
- He has a plan for your life,
- He is making a way that you are unable to see,
- He will do the impossible,
- He will use every painful circumstance in your life for your benefit,
- He will comfort you through your most painful seasons,
- He will never leave you or abandon you no matter how you feel,
- He will offer you opportunities of escape when temptation comes your way,
- He is able to restore what was lost,
- He is able to free you from you sin,
- He will lift you up when you fall,
- He will carry when you’re too weak,
- He is sovereign and in control,
- He is able to offer you joy even in difficult circumstances,
- He has promised to be with you always,
- He offers you hope even when you feel like giving up,
- He offers us peace even in the eye of the storm,
- He is strong enough to get you through!
You see, God is our source and key to patient endurance. And believing what He says and who He says He is, is vital to our ability to keep moving forward!
Without Him, we are weak. Without Him we are overwhelmed by lies, temptations, pitfalls, sin, hopelessness, fear, anxiety and doubt. How easy it would be for us to give up on fighting the good fight without God as our strength? And yet we often try to do this! How easy is it for us to try and do God’s work without God, or to try and tackle our sin/weaknesses before we feel safe enough to go to Him? I’m here to tell you that it is only through Jesus; it is the only Way. God gave us Himself so that we would be able to patiently endure this life with joy in our hearts! The joy is not based on our circumstances, but on what we know to be true and that is that we have a future and a hope through Christ Jesus.
Going back to our verse in Colossians 1, we are now able to understand a little bit more of what it means to patiently endure and how to move forward even in the midst of waiting for God to change our circumstances. It begins and ends with Him. Therefore, we must intentionally seek a stronger and more intimate relationship with Him through prayer, worship, and getting into His word. We need Him and He wants you!
Our challenge is to develop patient endurance with joy, by focusing on knowing God and His truth found in the word. Recognize that fears, doubts, anxieties and hopelessness are to be lied down at the foot of the cross. They are not your burdens to bear! Focus on His promises and when lies begin to creep in, renew your mind to what is true. The truth is, we have hope in Jesus and you were never meant to do this life on your own!