We have the option of doing things using our own strength or doing things with God strengthening us “with all power, according to His glorious might” (Colossians 1:11b ESV). I have tried both ways and I know which way is best. Time and time again, using my own strength was like running a race without eating breakfast first. You might finish what you meant to finish, but it’s not fun, not easily accomplished, and it really beats you up.
In the Message there are two strengths mentioned: Grim Strength and Glory Strength. Grim strength is when you are gritting your teeth just to get something done. It’s almost as if you have to force it to be completed, giving it every ounce of what you have to make it work. It’s a bad struggle. It’s not how God intended things to work. The Glory Strength is when you allow God to strengthen you to accomplish His will. You might have a great struggle before you but with His strength it is never grim. People see you overcome, people see your achievements, and God gets so much glory. When you live with God’s Glory Strength, you do great things through Him and cannot help but have this outpouring of praise for what He’s done through you. You realize that you could have struggled alone and barely scraped by but with Him you were able to soar to great heights for His glory. He qualified you. He did the work. You simply were the vessel through which He worked.
Life is rough. Life is hard. Life is filled with struggles and obstacles. You have two options: Grim Strength or Glory Strength. You can do life alone and try to make it through to the end or you can do life with God and allow Him to provide you the strength you need to get things accomplished. You can focus on a life that is lived for you, where your plans are the goals to be reached, or you can focus on God’s will for your life and realize that you have put great limits on your life. For God wants you to soar; God wants you to be a great bright light in a world of darkness. When you walk with grim strength, you miss out on the great plan He has for your life. In the end, a life lived with that strength causes you a lot more than just gritting teeth. May you learn how God works and how to live with Glory Strength so that you may endure and praise God with all you have as you see Him move and work through your life.
“Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not 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 1:9-12 [MSG]