For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.
Paul writes above about his ongoing work to proclaim to people the “mystery” of Christ. It is to this end that he works, “struggling” along in the midst of opposition and suffering. Yet Paul remains confident and filled with hope, for he understands not only the primary nature of the message that he is delivering, but also he recognizes that his work is not dependent upon his own power and ability. Rather, it is the power of Christ that works in him (he will also write of this to the Ephesians—of “the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe”). Because of this, there is nothing that can stop the message from being proclaimed. Also because of this, the goal of bringing people to full maturity in Christ can be accomplished. It is good to be reminded that it is the power of Christ that works in us as his people. It is more than good, in fact; it is an essential understanding that the people of God must develop in order that we function the way God intends us to function in the world. To the Corinthians Paul wrote of his boasting about his own weaknesses, “so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9). In other words, Paul came to grips with the true power that was working in him, thus he learned to celebrate and welcome it, even in the face of personal suffering and trial. We, too, have access to the power of Christ (“Christ in you” to use Paul’s words) in our lives—the very power that enables us to be like Christ and to act like Christ. Today we worship in celebration of what Christ has done in us. May we all join together in lifting praise to our God.