“For I desire to have you know how greatly I struggle for you, and for those at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; “
This verse follows on from the end of the last chapter and extends the sentiment expressed there for the spiritual well-being of the Christians at Colosse and all who would read this letter, including us. Paul seems to realises that his words are not just his words, but will last the test of time. He speaks to us still, down through the Millenia and his voice, God’s voice, is not dulled. Paul wants them to know his love for them, even though he faces death, that they will listen and obey the voice of the Lord.
Paul has had many struggles and continues to have many struggles because of the ministry that God has called him to do. Paul has suffered beatings, shipwreck, violence, imprisonments, threats, called up before authorities, and personal loss. Paul works to keep himself and takes no funds from any church or organisation. He is dedicated to the development of the spiritual life of the church and is the example, for all time of sacrificial living and serving.
He loves the Christians at Colosse and also Laodicea and also all of us, who he has never seen or known. He loves the body of Christ first and foremost and is seeking to build them up in holy faith and love for the Lord. Paul is building strong Christians so that the church will stand firm in the Lord and hold closely to the Apostle’s doctrine and teaching.
His expression is full of emotion. His passion and desire is for the people of God and his own life is forfeit for their sakes. He describes his life as a “struggle” and so it is. He has given up all the comforts and success in this life, to have the prize in the life to come.
“Don’t you know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run like that, that you may win. Every man who strives in the games exercises self-control in all things. Now they do it to receive a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible.”
1 Corinthians 9:24-25
This is the pattern for every Christian. We cannot serve God and this world. We choose who we serve and what we give our time to. God will honour our choices for His glory and prosper our work in the Lord.