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A Call to Endurance (4 of 18)
(Read Colossians 1:11-14 NRSV)
Up till now Paul's Letter to the church in Colossae
has been full of the happiness and celebration that
belong to people who are living in a believing
relationship with Jesus Christ. He has applauded their
faith in Christ, their love for one another, their
hope in God, the impressive way the Gospel has been
bearing fruit among them, and their opportunity to
keep growing spiritually in wisdom and the knowledge
of God's will.
But today we reach verses 11 - 14 of Chapter One and
find the first hint in this letter that living as a
Christian isn't all happiness and ease.
In Florida there is a tribe of Native Americans who
live in the Everglades. They are known for their
ability to wrestle with alligators. One day, a tourist
was talking to one of these Native Americans and
commented on the necklace he was wearing. She wanted
to know what it was made of. "Alligator teeth," was
the reply. "Ah," continued the woman, "is that kind of
like wearing a necklace of pearls? .... Not quite," he
said. "Anybody can open an oyster." (1) Life in Christ
is not all oysters and pearls. A lot of the time it's
like wrestling with alligators. We're tempted with
sinful desires, we're tested with sorrow, we're
frustrated with circumstances, we're hurt with deep
losses, we're disappointed with broken dreams, we're
attacked by discouragement and depression.
Paul knew this from his own experience as an apostle
of Jesus Christ. After all, he was writing this letter
from prison. His life as a follower of Jesus Christ
included beatings, stoning, slander, opposition by
other Christian leaders, shipwreck, imprisonment, and
- if the tradition we have is accurate - execution in
Rome by beheading.
So here in Colossians 1:11 Paul writes of our need as
believers to be strengthened for the battles we can't
run away fr ...
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