Have you ever had something mature on you? Have you ever started something, watched it grow and then tasted the fruit of your labor? If you have, then don’t mind me asking this question – how did it feel near the end?

Those of us for whom exercise means a long run or bike ride will attest to the fact that starts are always the hardest. Picturing the next 120km on the bike or taking the first step on the 5km run is tough.

And the run never gets easier either, does it? The ride, never less painful. When we are in the middle of the journey, while our lungs are burning, we feel like giving up. But we tell ourselves, we’re half way there; we’ve already suffered that much, we can’t let it go to waste. So we push.

Then we reach the end, the last 1km, 500m, then suddenly this thought comes to mind; what am I doing here, why do I bother, so what if I don’t finish?

And it’s the same with any long journey. Whether you are running, watching a boiling kettle, waiting for harvest, or waiting for your insurance policies to mature; the end is always fraught with danger, for the simple reason that if you mess it up now, all your effort would have been wasted, and you’ll have to start all over again.

Now, there was a time when Paul wrote a letter to the Colossians with these words,

“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you,…” Colossians 1:9

What was the reason? What was so pressing that Paul and his gang would not stop praying for them? Well, it wasn’t just one reason, there were three.

“since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints;” Colossians 1:4

“because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven,…” Colossians 1:5

“which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit,…” Colossians 1:6

Paul saw that not only were the Colossians exhibiting the right behavior, their behavior came from the right place, their faith in Christ. It wasn’t just a case of them knowing the ‘do’s and don’ts’ and following them because they had to. They did it because they wanted to. And,

“We know that you are showing these qualities because you have grasped the hope reserved for you in Heaven…” Colossians 1:5 [PHILLIPS]

With the net result being that Paul could see in their lives that

“Wherever that Gospel goes, it produces Christian character, and develops it, as it had done in your own case from the time you first heard and realised the amazing fact of God’s grace.” Colossians 1:6 [PHILLIPS]

But this was way back when for them, and the road is long. In fact, we ourselves can attest to the fact that the good Christian life is difficult to live out. In the face of the world’s attempts at shaking our faith, developing Christian character is a difficult thing to do; and we could very easily degenerate rather than grow. So that is why Paul and gang would not stop praying for them.

Now, for us, things are no different. Yet press on, we should; persevere, we must. In fact, not only ‘should we’ and ‘must we’, it is a case of ‘all the more we should’; because even if you don’t read into the signs of the age, simple math will tell you that it has been hundreds of years since the time Paul wrote this letter, so Jesus can’t be long away, can He?

So press on Christian, JESUS IS COMING.

You know, this reminds me of the time when Peter uttered these now famous words.

“Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.” Matthew 26:33

“Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” Matthew 26:35

“Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.” Luke 22:33

On hindsight, we now know that at the time, Peter was merely at his precipice, barely starting out on his journey with Christ. So much more lay ahead of him, not the least of which was this episode.

“And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, “Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.”
Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!”” Matthew 26:73-74

Before the chapter was over, the man who said,

“Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.” Matthew 26:33

“Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” Matthew 26:35

denied knowing Jesus with cursing and swearing. Barely a day and what a difference it made.

But you know, beloved, this episode gives me comfort; because from here, we see that no matter what happens to us from now till the day Jesus returns, no matter how many times we trip, stumble and fall, and no matter how badly we do, we will never fall out of our Father’s love. Because do you remember what Jesus said to Peter before he even uttered his first empty promise?

“And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”” Luke 22:31-32

Jesus is not clueless. Our Father is not ignorant. They are not in an ivory tower, oblivious to the challenges that we are facing. In fact, we are the ones that don’t realize just what a pain Satan can be; and how determined he is to do us in, all in the name of making God look bad.

Not only that. It gets better, because not only are They aware, They are also watching over us, and in Jesus’ words, He has prayed for us, that our faith should not fail. You see, to Jesus, even if we fall, it is not a case of ‘if’ we return to Him, but WHEN we return to Him; and when we do, He’s still got a job for us. Talk about comprehensive protection.

So when Paul said,

“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you,…” Colossians 1:9

He was just taking a page out of Jesus’ playbook, copying the Master, and showing us the kind of hope that we have and can be confident in.

Therefore as we are going along our journey, as we continue to have faith in Jesus because of the hope which is laid up for us in heaven; we also should pray, for ourselves and each other. And here are the things that we should continually ask for.

“…that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;” Colossians 1:9

“that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work…” Colossians 1:10

“…increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;” Colossians 1:10-11

It is important that we continually discover and allow Jesus to uncover the length, the breadth and the depths of our Father’s love for us. For when we do, then we will realize just how comprehensively we are protected and provided for.

It is also vital that we be good ambassadors for Christ; not that we will be penalized if we don’t; because we won’t. But don’t you want to show off just how good our Father has been to you? Don’t you want to make Him who has taken such good care of you, look good? Don’t you want to tell all who are nearest and dearest to you of the wonderful hope that you have in Christ, so that they all can be in on it too?

You know beloved, at the end of the day, to get us through from now till the day Jesus returns,

“We are asking God that you may see things, as it were, from his point of view by being given spiritual insight and understanding. We also pray that your outward lives, which men see, may bring credit to your master’s name, and that you may bring joy to his heart by bearing genuine Christian fruit, and that your knowledge of God may grow yet deeper.” Colossians 1:9-10 [PHILLIPS]

For when you are walking so closely to Christ, nothing that this world can ever throw at you will ever faze you.

So take heart Christian. Yes, the road is long, yes things can get tough. But hold on, for the end is near and Jesus is coming. And should you fall along the way, don’t worry. WHEN you have returned to Him, strengthen your brethren.

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