May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. – Colossians 1:11-12 ESV
As Paul continues his prayer, he uses two Greek words, dynamoō and dynamis, which both have to do with power. You can see the similarity they have with our English word, dynamite. He asks God to fill those he is praying for with power, but not just any kind of power – Paul is specifically referring to God’s power. He uses a different Greek word when speaking of God’s power – kratos – and it means “power, might: mighty with great power.” Knowing God’s will requires that we choose to obey it rather than our own. In the same way, having God’s power available to us requires that we depend on it rather than our own. God’s power is glorious. It stands alone and is unequaled and non-replicatable. We can’t manufacture the kind of power God provides. It is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. It is the same power that created the universes and all it contains. Our petty power pales in comparison. Why would we ever choose to live in our own strength when we have the power of God at our disposal? Sounds ludicrous, doesn’t it? Yet we do it all the time. As children of God, we have his power at our disposal, but we continually attempt to live this life in our own strength, relying on our own limited resources.
It is interesting to note that Paul first prays for a filling of God’s will. Then he asks for power from on high. Why? Because knowing God’s will and obeying it will require God’s power. His power will give us the strength we need to patiently endure as we do His will. His will for us may not be easy. It was God’s will that Jesus die on the cross. And Jesus faithfully fulfilled the will of His Father, in spite of the pain, suffering, humility and shame. Unlike the Law, which required human effort to keep God’s holy requirements, God’s will for believers is made possible by God’s power. He has placed His Holy Spirit within us to give us the strength we need to do all that He has called us to do. But we must avail ourselves of that strength. We must recognize our own weakness and turn to Him for “power from on high” (Luke 24:49). Paul reminds us that it was God who “has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” It was His power that redeemed us. It was His power that justified us. His power raised Jesus from the dead and proved that His sacrifice was acceptable as the payment for our sins. When Paul said that God has “qualified” us, he used the Greek word, hikanoō, and it literally means, “to equip one with adequate power to perform duties of one.” Even now, while we live on this earth, we share in the inheritance of the saints. We are saints. And we have the power to perform the duties of one. It is at our disposal, but we must avail ourselves of it. We must learn to rely on it. We must also learn to thank Him for it. He has made it fully possible for us to “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10 ESV). That is something for which we should be truly grateful. God didn’t just save us and then leave us on our own. He saved us, then empowered us. “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3 NLT). Living this life is not easy. Living a godly life in the midst of ungodliness is difficult. But we have power available to us that is unmatched and immeasurable. The problem is that we need to learn to rely on it rather than turning to our own limited strength. God will bring us to points of weakness in order to show us our insufficiency and encourage us to tap into His all-powerful, all-glorious power. When we do, we will learn to say with Paul, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 ESV).