Finding strength in joy
Ever notice that feeling “blah” often goes hand-in-hand with feeling “weak”?
I’ve never had a moment where my mood was kinda “eh” and I was also feeling strong, or empowered, or engaged in life. Instead, when I’m discontented or feeling a little down…it seems like everything takes additional effort – thinking, handling routine responsibilities, or just moving my body all seem to be a chore.
As he opens his letter to the believers in Colossae, Paul tells them what he has been praying for them. He’s been petitioning God for three specific things – first, that God would fill them with the knowledge of His will; second, that God would strengthen them with His power, so they could have both endurance and patience; and now, we’ll take a look at Paul’s third request.
Paul is still asking God to give the believers strength; however, this time, Paul wants them to find strength in joy. We can all recognize that a lack of joy usually accompanies a lack of strength, but the idea of joy actually giving us strength might seem a little strange. To fully understand his reason for connecting both strength and joy, take a look at where Paul says that our joy should come from:
May you be strengthened…with joy giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light.
The Colossians’ joy, and ultimately their strength, was directly tied to their perspective. If they were looking only at their present circumstances, their own failings, or the hopelessness in the world around them, they would not be able to find any lasting enjoyment.
Instead, Paul prays that they would recognize the benefits the Father bestows on His children. He is the one who made it possible for them to share in the saints’ inheritance. There was no way for any of us to merit eternal life, or to merit becoming part of God’s family. Eternal life and the opportunity to share in the family inheritance are both gifts of God to us; all because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.
Think back over the other gifts that God has given you…if He is able and willing to bless His children in so many ways while we still wrestle with our sinful desires, imagine how great our inheritance will be when our sin-natures have been left behind!
Thinking about such big ideas and big topics leads us to wonderment and thankfulness for what the Father has done. Whenever we stop and honestly thank someone, we are shifting the focus off of us. We look at the gift and the giver in full appreciation; we stop looking at ourselves. It is in this attitude of thankfulness that we find joy, because being thankful towards God puts Him in the proper place in our lives.
As we joyfully thank God for who He is and what He has done, we are strengthened. We can deal with the sin-soaked world that pulls us down, because we see more than just the circumstances and difficulties that are momentarily in front of us.