For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.Colossians 1:29(NASB)
God gave Paul a unique ministry and appointed him to be the administrator of His plans and purposes during this Church age. Just as Moses was God's chosen servant to administer His will to Israel during the dispensation of the Law, so Paul was God's chosen servant to administer His will during this dispensation of grace. He laboured tirelessly and strove unswervingly to spread abroad the gospel of grace that he received directly from the glorified Jesus Christ, knowing that the life of the living and resurrected Lord had been imputed to him and was working mightily in him, putting to death the deeds of the flesh and conforming his new-life-in-Christ into the likeness of his Lord and Saviour.
Paul knew that the righteousness with which he was clothed is the right and privilege of ALL who would trust in the Lord Jesus for salvation, and so he strove to spread abroad the gospel of God; Christ crucified, risen, ascended, and glorified. And Paul's passion was to establish the Church in sound doctrine, and to bring to spiritual maturity those that were saved by grace through faith in Him.
But as a result, Paul's ministry became one of Satan's prime targets. Paul however, rejoiced to suffer on behalf of Christ's Body. And I am sure that those earth-shattering words which he heard on that road to Damascus, must have often rung in his ears as he became the target of such intense suffering: "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting ME!" Paul's life certainly demonstrated one who was filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions, no wonder he penned those poignant words: "That I may know Christ and the power of His Resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering."
But Paul's God-appointed ministry and passionate mission was to labour unceasingly to preach the truth of the glorious gospel of grace to Jew and Gentile alike. He strove relentlessly to unfold to fallen sinners the great revelations that had been hidden from past generations, but which had been entrusted to him for the Christian Church. He worked unceasingly to bring to spiritual maturity, as many as would hear and receive the astonishing mysteries that were given to him on our account - the unsearchable riches in Christ and the surpassing treasures of God's grace and kindness toward us, in Jesus our Saviour.
The incredible Christ for whom Paul suffered, the glorious gospel of grace that he proclaimed, and the maturing of the saints in Christ, was the purpose and passion for which Paul strove. A passion and purpose that he could not carry out in his own 'wretched' strength, but a passion and a purpose that was fulfilled by means of the indwelling power of Christ which lived in him and worked mightily through him - a power that works mightily in ALL who will cease from their own fleshly strivings, rest in His love, and abide in Christ's sufficient strength - for His grace is sufficient. For when I am weak then I am strong, enabling the Lord to carry out His plans and purposes in my life through His mighty strength (not mine) - for His grace is sufficient.
"Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!"
Heavenly Father, thank You for the amazing ministry of the apostle Paul and for the many truths that You chose to reveal to Your Church through him. Thank You for the indwelling Holy Spirit, Who works mightily in me when I am prepared to submit my life into His hands. Keep me from the futile works of the flesh which can only fail and leave me saying like Paul, "O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this weak body of flesh?" but help me to strive according to the mighty power that works in me, knowing that when I am weak in my own abilities, then Your strength is perfected in me. In Jesus' name, AMEN.
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