Paul finishes the first chapter of Colossians with his suffering for Christ. The suffering was considered a gift and that Paul speaks in first person, saying that without the suffering he would not have understood the truth of Jesus Christ.
Many of the people in this world would never have heard the truth, but through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, the truth was brought out in the light. Now the truth was available to everyone – not just Jews, but everyone.
The bottom line is that once you receive Christ in your life, he is within you. His gift to us is the Holy Spirit, which resides in us. It is not there for us to use as we desire, but to serve God and to fulfill God’s command – to take the Gospel to everyone.
We also are warned in these passages – not to add to the Gospel or the Message, but to take it to all the ends of the earth – simply preaching what is here in God’s word. Paul adds that we work and continue to work to serve God and his personal testimony is that he worked day to day, year to year and to the end of his life spreading the Gospel to anyone who would hear the message. In the Message translation is says that God gives us energy to serve. I believe if we work for his kingdom we will find the energy and the time to work as God wishes us to work for the spread of his message.
When I became a servant in this church, I experienced this suffering as a sheer gift, God’s way of helping me serve you, laying out the whole truth. This mystery has been kept in the dark for a long time, but now it’s out in the open. God wanted everyone, not just Jews, to know this rich and glorious secret inside and out, regardless of their background, regardless of their religious standing. The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you, therefore you can look forward to sharing in God’s glory. It’s that simple. That is the substance of our Message. We preach Christ, warning people not to add to the Message. We teach in a spirit of profound common sense so that we can bring each person to maturity. To be mature is to be basic. Christ! No more, no less. That’s what I’m working so hard at day after day, year after year, doing my best with the energy God so generously gives me.
I pray God continues to work in my life as that powerful gift of the Holy Spirit leads me to work for Christ.