Colossians 1:11-12

Trina Robinson hikes along the Tour du Mont Blanc near Lac du Combal, Val Veny, Italy.

. . . being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.

The photo was taken in Italy, in Val Veny, by Thomas Robinson of Trina Robinson, his mom, my wife, while we were hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc, one hundred mile loop hike around the tallest mountain in Europe, through Italy, France, Switzerland, back into Italy. That trek required plenty of endurance as we were daily strengthened with all power, filled with God’s glorious might as Paul writes in the opening chapter of Colossians.

In his letters, Paul loves to pile on phrases into lengthy paragraphs that radiate with glory, wisdom, and brilliance. But his writing can be hard to understand unless we take his writing phrase by phrase to better understand God’s grace expressed in the opening chapter of this letter to the church in Colossae.

being strengthened with all power: This phrase follows up on the sentence in Col 1:10, where Paul encourages us to live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God . Then, Paul invites us to be strengthened with all power. We are often running on low energy, lacking in power, lacking in inner strength to make important decisions or hold to our moral bearings in the midst of forces of temptation and stress. Christ comes to us when we are weary and strengthens us with all power. Jesus invites us to “Come to me, you who are weary and heavy ladened.” (Matthew 11:28). The word Paul uses for power, DUNAMEI is where we get our word “dynamics” and “dynamite,” a word in Greek that means energy, power, force or strength. He uses this word twice, that we will be empowered by power, strengthened by strength!

according to his glorious might: We are strengthened not by any inner power we discover within ourselves, but according to God’s glorious might, God’s brilliant, radiant, splendor which empowers when it arrives, much like rays of the Sun give life to plants.

so that you may have great endurance and patience: Paul tells us that Christ empowers us, strengthens us to help us endure hardships, trials, weariness, and impatience in our world. Daily, we have many opportunities to wear out, to lose patience because of situations and people who are mean, hostile, selfish, or rude. One of the nine-fold fruit of the Spirit is patience. Paul wrote in Colossians 1:6 that the gospel of Christ is bearing fruit in Colossae and throughout the whole world. In Colossians 1:10, he calls us to bear fruit in every good work. One of the aspects of this fruit is patience. Paul wants us to have great patience, plenty of endurance. He wants us to not wear out easily, but to forebear, suffer-long, and maintain our loving, forgiving, faithful, prayerful lives no matter what trials and hassles come along.

and giving joyful thanks to the Father. People who live this way, with great endurance and patience also are those who give joyful thanks to the Father for all the good works they see unfolding in their lives. Joy in Greek is CHARIS. We give thanks to the Father when we see ourselves not wearing out, not becoming irritable, not growing impatient. We give thanks, EUCHARISTOUNTES, literally in Greek, EU (good) + CHARIS (gift of joy), a celebration causing us to be grateful.

who has qualified you: God makes our lives sufficient, imprinting our lives with a seal of approval or “qualified.” God does this inner deep work within our spirit by the power of the Holy Spirit, through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. We are qualified, not because of our qualifications, but because God simply loves us and tells us “my grace is sufficient for you, and my power is made perfect in your weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9)

to share in the inheritance of his holy people: We are invited by God to share in an eternal inheritance, along with billions and billions of other people who God has made holy by welcoming any and all who walk into God’s light and love. We share this inheritance not only with Christ, but with people, most of whom we will never meet in this life, but with whom we will share God’s love and light in eternity.

in the kingdom of light. God’s eternal realm is described by Paul as the kingdom of light. Jesus calls us children of the light (John 12:36): “Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” Later Paul also calls us children of light, who live in God’s kingdom of light.