9 Nov 2004

How to strive as Paul did?

Submitted by theshovel
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Paul said that he labored and strove according to His power which mightily worked in him to admonish and teach in order to present every man complete in Christ. I want to do the same. But how? Does there not need to be active effort? If you had not put forth much effort in your writing and teaching we would not all be benefiting now. Do you catch my drift? —Timothy

We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me. Colossians 1:28-29

Hi Timmy! :)

I’ve seen silk flowers that are more perfect and more preferable for many uses than real ones. One is made for show; the other simply is what it is. I think a real flower would consider itself a failure if it tried to mimic its artificial counterpart. There would also be a fundamental difference in what it means to “strive”. One would be a futile attempt to make itself “more perfect”; the other would describe the natural process a flower goes through during the course of its life. In the end, only one truly produces.

You have been set free to live … to really live. Live as one who is truly alive, not as one who attempts to copy that which appears to be a more perfect life. Minister - that is, serve - as one who has been given the heart and desire to do so, not as one who hopes to become a “Minister” trying to do this thing known as “Ministry”.

There is far more within than you can possibly imagine! Don’t let yourself become frustrated by striving to become that artificial image based upon a substandard reflection of the life that is already in you. Strive instead to simply live. For such a striving rejects the appearance-based demands of the appearance-based world all around you.

Love, Jim

Hi Jimmy :-), ( I don’t mind the term of endearment - Timmy. Feel like a friend!)

Thanks for the analogy and for taking some time from your second job to respond. Explain a bit more to me what you mean by striving to simply live. How does one strive to live. One just lives, does he not. Yet I see something different in what Paul did. It seems he was intentional in what he wanted to accomplish, that is “present every man complete in Christ”. So, how do we strive in this life of grace to “strive” (try, attempt, strain) to live? —Timothy

Hey again, Timmy!

As I was suggesting before, the very meaning behind the word “strive” as used by Paul takes on a different sense depending on whether he was describing the futile attempts of man or whether he was describing the pushing on of real living in the midst of a world that insists on real life as being insanity. Remember how Paul described his life in this world as “pressing on”? Just like you, his own past religious bent argued against an onward course of real life in Christ. Though life in Christ is referred to as a “rest” that very rest grates against the only understood false premises by which we formerly were taught from the world.

There is a true determination in the rejection of human struggle by which we say, “I’m not going to live by their rules any more!” This was Paul’s pigheaded determination in demanding not to view another by appearance but only by Christ.

I am not suggesting that you struggle to live, but that in truly living you are in effect “striving” against the very spirit of this world. The truth is that none of us reject activity - for life IS active - but our hearts have grown weary of the futility of empty performance. We want to be real. We want to live as those alive, not as those putting on a show.

Jim :)

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Random Shovelquote: Former religious imaginations (view all shovelquotes)

My assumptions of what grace and life in Christ look like often reflect my former religious imaginations.   source