For Love, for Unity
"I want you to know how much I am struggling for you." — Colossians 2:1 Was the apostle Paul bragging or trying to get credit for his hard labor to the church?
No, Paul was endeavoring to communicate how bonded he felt to his fellow believers, how much he valued them and what he was willing to do for them, out of love.
The unity we have in Jesus is far stronger than we realize. As Christians, our identities lie in the fact that by faith, we have been buried with Jesus, raised together by Jesus, and made alive together with Him.
While Paul was certainly a strong advocate of sound doctrine, he didn’t allow small issues to divide him from other believers. Instead, he followed Jesus’ example and demonstrated a willingness to lay his life down for his friends.
In talking about his struggles, Paul used the word agon from which we get the word “agony.” This word was used by the Greeks for their Olympic games, to describe how the athletes agonized in wrestling and footraces and agonized to win. When Paul talked about agonizing, he was saying he was fighting for the Colossians with everything he had!
Earlier in this letter to the Colossians, he said, “Christ in you, the hope of glory...To this end I labor.”
Paul stretched his spiritual muscles the way a Greek runner trained for a race. He did it for love, for unity, for Jesus.
What a better use of the energy and gifts God gives us than tearing each other apart and finding reasons for division. Jesus suffered for us, and those, like Paul, who followed Him, agonized for His body of believers.
“I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.” —Jesus, John 17:20-21 “In necessary things, unity; in doubtful things, liberty; in all things, charity.” —Augustine