There are many theories about how one comes to be strengthened
by God. Paul deals with this in great detail in his epistles to
the Colossians and Ephesians. In this article, I would like for
us to notice Paul's prayer concerning the Colossians being strengthened
with all might to live a fruitful life.
Paul's epistle was written (in part) combating Gnostic doctrines
teaching a mystical spirituality. Gnostic sects (then and now) combine
philosophy with the word of God to come up with false religions
"indeed having an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion,
false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against
the indulgence of the flesh" (Col. 2:23).
Contrasted with the mystical doctrines of the Gnostics, Paul communicates
to the Colossians the very concrete process whereby one is strengthened
with all might to live a fruitful life to the Lord.
First Paul communicates his prayer for them upon having heard of
their faith in Christ and because of the hope laid up for them in
heaven (Col. 1:3-8). They had heard of this hope in the word of
the truth, the gospel (Col. 1:5) which had come to them as well
as every creature under heaven (Col. 1:6, 23) and was bringing forth
fruit (Col. 1:6). The Colossians had heard and knew the grace of
God in truth (Col. 1:6) which they had learned from Epaphras (Col.
So Paul communicates that they had heard, learned, and
come to a knowledge of their heavenly hope and the grace
of God. They had come to a knowledge of the truth. They
had faith in Jesus Christ, they had love for all the saints,
and their love was in the Spirit (Col. 1:4, 8).
Then Paul communicates his prayer for them: "For this reason we
also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and
to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in
all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may have a walk
worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every
good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with
all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and
longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified
us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light"
Paul's prayer was that they may be filled with the knowledge of
God's will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. The result
of which is that they would have a walk worthy of the Lord, fully
pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work, increasing in the
knowledge of God, strengthened with all might for all patience and
longsuffering with joy.
This is not some mystic spirituality. Christians must strive to
know and understand God's will as revealed in His word. And this
is done by hearing and learning the word of truth, the gospel (Col.
1:5-7). Regarding the gospel Paul said: "for it is the power of
God to salvation for everyone who believes." And he said: "So then
faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Rom. 10:17).
Yes, I will go to my grave not knowing everything about God. But,
I should strive daily to come to a deeper knowledge of God's will
until the day that I go to my grave.
Paul warns Timothy about people living in the last days who were
lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, "having a form of
godliness but denying its power. And from such turn away! For of
this sort are those who creep into households and make captives
of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts,
always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth"
(2 Tim. 3:5-7).
In a previous epistle, Paul informed Timothy of God's desire for
all men saying: "who desires all men to be saved and to come to
the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:4).
Are you saved? Are you daily coming to a deeper knowledge of the
truth whereby you are "strengthened with all might, according to
His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy"
(Col. 1:11)? If not, today is the day to begin!