I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. (Colossians 2:2, NLT).
Suffering takes on purpose in what it accomplishes in, for, and through us. Christ suffered to bring about God’s plan of salvation for all who believe, both Jew and Gentile. Paul suffered to proclaim that message. In his continued suffering through imprisonment, he penned 13 books of the New Testament, proclaimed the Good News to Caesar’s household, trained evangelists, and prayed for the maturity of a blended, unified church. Perfection in Christ (v.28) comes when we allow the painful pruning away of our prejudices toward others.
What most encourages me about the Good News, I also find the most challenging: Christ loves me; therefore, I love others. If I fail to love, I fail to comprehend God’s mysterious plan. I rob myself of his treasures of wisdom and knowledge (v.3). I am not capable of loving this way; I must depend on Christ’s mighty power (v.29). I must allow this hard work and struggle toward perfection in Christ to remake and transform me.
Father, I confess that I hold myself apart from others. Forgive me for not loving others as your Son has loved me. I ask that you bring about the painful work of transformation in me. Create in me the strong ties of love to other believers. Fill me with compassion for those who do not yet know your Son. In whose name I pray, Amen.