Thursday, April 21, 2011

Strengthened with All Might

Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power. (Colossians 1:11)

Paul prays for the believers at Colosse to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will, so that they may have a walk worthy of the Lord.


That is what Paul is talking about here. In the Greek text, the word for “strengthened” is in the present tense. That is, it is an ongoing activity. It is also a passive participle. That is, it is not something we do for ourselves but something that happens to or is done for us. The sense here, then, is “always being strengthened.”

The word for “strengthened” is dynamis. So is the word translated here as “might.” Dynamis is the ability to get things done. It is, of course, where we get the word “dynamite,” but don’t let that fool you. This power can be very constructive and life-changing in a positive way. “With all power empowered” is the literal reading here. Or as Young’s Literal Translation puts it, “In all might being made mighty.”

With all power empowered? This can come only from God. It is “according to His glorious power.” That is, it corresponds to the power of His glory. The word for “power” here is different; it is kratos, which speaks of manifested power, power in its fullness and dominion. It is most appropriately used of God. In this passage, it speaks of “His glorious power,” or the power of His glory. Where and how has the power of His glory been manifested in all its fullness and dominion? In the resurrection of Jesus the Messiah from the dead.
Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Roman 6:4)
That is the highest, most world-changing manifestation of God’s glory and power. And it is the same glory and power God wants to display in you and me, not just in the sweet by and by but in the here and now, where it is so desperately needed. Elsewhere, Paul prayers for believers that we may have the intimate, experiential knowledge of
what is the exceeding greatness of His power [dynamis] toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power [kratos] which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power [dynamis] and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. (Ephesians 1:19-22)
At the end of that book, Paul concludes,
Finally, my brethren, be strong [dynamis] in the Lord and in the power [kratos] of His might. (Ephesians 6:10)
Notice, again, that “be strong” (or empowered, or strengthened) is a present passive, a continuous action that happens to or in us. We are made strong “in the Lord.” It is His power and His might at work. Our part is simply to yield to that work in us.

A walk worthy of the Lord is a walk made in His strength, always being empowered with all power by the magnificent power that manifests His glory and dominion — His resurrection power! It is an amazing strength, and possible for you and me to be always and fully strengthened with it. Or else Paul, praying by the Holy Spirit, would not have prayed it.

*For more about the pastoral prayers found in the New Testament, see Praying With Fire: Change Your World with the Powerful Prayers of the Apostles

The Focus of Our Faith
The Focus of Our Faith
Paul’s Letters to the Jesus Believers at Colosse
Bite-Size Studies Through Colossians
by Jeff Doles

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