It is a great comfort to me that Paul experienced and felt many of the same circumstances and feelings we go through in the twenty-first century. Writing from prison, he did not concern himself with the conditions of his cell or the political battles that were current, but with the spiritual state of believers in churches he planted.
“For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ” (Colossians 2:1–2).
As I have shared with you the conditions and heart of some in Africa, we have this same yearning. We struggle in prayer because we are not able to be present with them. Zoom, FaceTime, WhatsApp and other communication methods are great, but they lack the personal touch that is gained by visiting in person. Discerning spiritual conditions is more difficult.
I want to know more of Paul’s attitude of “great…struggle” for those who are suffering and need our encouragement. Notice the purpose of Paul’s struggle; that they “reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ.” Is this our desire for others in the body of Christ? It should be!
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