Spilling over into joy

teach_me_your_waysA man decided that he wanted to pave the area outside his back door. He bought several large slabs of stone and loaded them off his bakkie into the driveway.

It required a great deal of effort to roll the stone across the garden to his back door, and he soon realised the project was going to take him longer than he had anticipated. After he had worked steadily for most of the morning, his young daughter came outside and asked if she could help. He was tempted to say no, knowing how much longer it would take if she was getting under his feet. But he conceded and allowed her to put her little hands on the stones while he moved them.

More than a few hours later, father and daughter came inside for dinner. Around the table while they ate, the daughter announced to her mother, I paved the back garden, Mummy. One look at the pride on her face made her father glad to have allowed her to help.

When we approach God with a desire to participate in the things that he is doing, he delights in allowing us to help. When Paul wrote to the Colossians he told them that he prayed for God to give them wisdom and spirits attuned to his will in order that they would, acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works (Colossians 1: 9 MSG). His reason for praying this was because he believed that as they learnt more and more how God worked, they would learn how to do their own work.

Seeing Gods hand in the details of our day-to-day lives is an important part of learning how he does things. As we read his word, spend time in prayer and work out what it means to walk in the Spirit, we will see how he is constantly working to redeem mankind, show grace to those who are lost and bind up the broken-hearted. Watching how He works will inspire us to imitate Him in our lives.

Paul also prayed that the Colossians would have strength to endure things that in their own strength would be impossible.

We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haulnot the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us. (Colossians 1:10-12 MSG)

The strength God gives us allows us to cope with things that would otherwise threaten to overwhelm us. Not only will we survive these hardships, but our strength will spill over into joy and thanksgiving. This is the fruit that will be produced in our lives as evidence of a heart that trusts and depends on God.

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