“Strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light” (Colossians 1:11-12). There are three things listed here that should characterize a Christian: power, patience and joyful thanksgiving. They are described here as part of our inheritance… what Christ has made available to us. Imagine having an inheritance, yet not knowing about it, or, knowing about it, not claiming it! The Christian life is not just a grind, as we keep on trying to become better people. We cannot change at all without the continuous empowering of the Holy Spirit being poured into our lives.
People seek the power of Spirit to make them feel better or because they get excited about the supernatural. But the power of the Spirit is given to change our lives and make us more like Christ. Even when we witness a miracle, it should motivate us to know the Christ who performed this miracle better. A changed church is a powerful church. There should be no contradiction between character and charisma. The fact is that God will pour out His Spirit most powerfully on those whose lives He can trust to use that power wisely and in a way that will reflect well on Him.
With power comes patience. When we have experienced the power of God in one area, it gives us patience to wait in others. And along with power and patience comes thanksgiving. Life for the world is always cup half-full and cup half-empty. Some cope better with it than others. But for the Christian who is growing in the knowledge of God, life is always cup overflowing even in the face of suffering. The same man who wrote the opening words also wrote this: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil 1:21) He is the same man who, with his back raw and bleeding, sang praises to God in the Philippian jail. Was it not the power of his praise that precipitated the earthquake that set free not only him and Barnabas, but also everyone around him?
Think about the consequences of your praise. Power, patience and thanksgiving…. we cannot work any of them up by our own strength, but they are freely available in the Holy Spirit to those who ask for them — an inheritance to be claimed.