For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. Colossians 1:29
At one point during my using years, when I was struggling, but still staying sober for most days, I attempted to serve in church by teaching an adult Sunday School class. I knew I had my problems, but I thought that doing something for God might help me find recovery. I was a fraud though. Occasionally still struggling with pills, I was painfully aware that I wasn’t living that which I was teaching. I tried to convince others to live a different life, but I wasn’t living it myself.
It didn’t go very well. Maybe God used my misguided efforts in some way, but to me it seemed fruitless, and it left me exhausted. After I’d teach, my self-control would be worse than usual and, for the next day or two, I’d be more susceptible to relapse. I wanted to change, but I was still addicted and in retrospect, I can now see that my efforts weren’t fueled by God, but rather by my own misguided plan. I needed to be transformed by God before I could effectively point others in his direction.
Now, sober, I don’t live a perfect life. I still have struggles, but I do daily make an honest attempt to abandon myself to follow God’s will. In doing so, I find that I’m energized to share my story with those who’ve struggled as I have. It’s not necessarily the ministry I would have picked 10 years ago. It’s the ministry that God has given me though, and in following his will, I find that I have far more energy than I ever had in following my way.
Paul said something similar in today’s passage. In it, Paul spoke of his life mission to share the transforming message of Christ. He said that in his work, he found himself energized with the power of God, to do his will. If Paul had attempted to follow his own will, I believe he would have found himself weak, exhausted, and anemic. In following God’s plan for his life though, Paul lived off a supernatural energy source.
Looking back, I can see the error of my Sunday School teaching. I’d not yet lived the transformation that I was trying to share with others. That’s why it was fruitless and that’s why it exhausted me. Daily now, my life purpose is to be continually transformed by God. In being transformed, I can pursue God’s plan, pointing others to him so they may also find transformation. Only in abandoning my will for God’s, do I find supernatural energy to live the life for which I was created.