What Is Working in You?
He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.
29 To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.
We are constantly presented with the concept of synergism in the Christian life. There is an expectation on the part of God that his people will actively participate in God's work in the world. This work is to go and make disciples of all nations. Paul was concerned about this work and ministry every day of his life. Not only was he helping to bring new people to Christ, but he was leading them to a life of full maturity in Christ. While engaged in this work Paul did put forth effort, but this was combined with Christ's energy. When the two combine we discover this synergism and Christ's energy explodes and becomes something dynamic in the life of the Apostle. The proclamation and admonition are not just Paul's words, but are instead empowered by Christ working in him.
Have you ever felt like everything you try to do just doesn't work out? Have you tried setting out good plans and then they just seem to fall through? Could it be that everything we are trying to accomplish is being done in our own strength and therefore we are not experiencing this supernatural power that Paul was talking about!
I am a preacher and I think about what Paul is saying here in regard to my own personal experiences. There are times when you preach and it feels like nothing happens. You wonder whether anyone is even listening. When that happens I have to go back and examine myself for I have learned that if I am not in the right place in my relationship with God, more than likely not much is going to happen. However, if I have spent time in prayer and seeking the face of God before I preach, then the synergy begins to work. There is a literal sense of the power of God's presence and a sense that Christ is empowering and working. The words can be exactly the same but the results can be radically different. I have learned that preaching is not about me; I simply need to prepare what God asks me to prepare, but then I must spend time connecting to the source of energy (Christ) so that the words become powerful, because of him.
But this power is not just about preaching; it's about everything that happens in our lives. There are two options for what is working in us; one is the power of Christ and the second is the power of ourselves. We are to depend on Christ in all things in our lives, in every action, reaction and decision. When that happens then the power of Christ is working and energizing life in all matters. I have a farmer friend who tells about how he and the Lord determine what crops are going to be planted in which fields. He spends a great deal of time talking with the Lord and asking Christ to energize his farming! Can that really happen? Well, the miracle stories of his farm would certainly lead you to believe this! Planting certain crops on certain fields has yielded synergistic type results -- far more than they could have ever imagined.
So, what is working in you? Is there the energy of Christ that is powerful, or is there simply human endurance? I think we fail to realize what is at our disposal when we are in Christ. I know there are times that I take this for granted, and yet I am excited to learn what lies ahead as I ask God to help me contend with all my strength -- so that I can unite with the power of Christ to make a difference in this world. What about you?
Lord, I have so much more to learn, but please, help me today to know you more. Amen.