Rabbi Schneider - God's Strength for You
And so when we pray the types of prayers that the apostles prayed, that are recorded in the Bible, we know that we're praying according to God's will, and that we can be a hundred percent assured that God is performing and doing those things that were asking for in us and through us. Now we're in the book of Colossians, we're examining a prayer that Paul prayed in chapter one. I want to finish that prayer today, we're looking at a Colossians chapter 1 verse 9 through 12. I am just going to read that for you today, I'm going to pick up then doing exposition where I left off last week.
So once again, those that were with me, just bear with me I'm just gonna read it from the beginning, but we're gonna pick up now where we left off last week in terms of giving further insight. Here we go the Word of God, Paul says verse 9, "For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask you might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work increasing in the knowledge of God, strengthened with all power according to his glorious might".
And that's right left off last week. Go ahead and get last week's message. I want to continue now. Paul continues he says, "Strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience". Paul says that the result of being strengthened by the glorious power of God is stability in our spiritual life. How many of us know many people, and I know that perhaps many of you would identify yourself as struggling with the same phenomenon that I'm about to describe: up one day, down the next day. Up one day, down the next day. Paul was praying here that we be strengthened with God's glorious power in order that, listen, we would attain to all steadfastness.
Let me read it again, he says "I'm praying that you'll be strengthened with all the power, according to his glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience". Beloved, all of us struggle with this to some degree, you know. Our emotions are very fickle, I'm not telling anybody anything new. We might go to sleep one night feeling good, feeling like we just had a great day, we go to sleep, we woke up the next morning, maybe it's cloudy outside or whatever, and we just feel "Wow, I feel tired today. I don't feel as spiritually awake or alive today. I don't feel as close to Jesus today".
We all have to deal with that phenomenon, but the problem is: some of us when we're faced with these fickle feelings, our whole walk with God rises or stands up according to the feeling. Paul was saying, "No, I want you to become sturdy. I want you to become steady. I want you to become consistent. I want your walk to look the same, whether you're feeling good or whether you're having a more difficult day". We need stable people in our lives, that set an example and we ourselves, beloved, need to become steadfast and stable.
You know I've seen over the years pastoring. You know some people get up, they're really, you know, almost bipolar or you know schizophrenic in some degree. You know they get up and they're manic one day about how excited they are about Jesus, you know, "I'm on fire for God", but then like three weeks later they're no longer coming to church anymore, they're completely depressed, and they don't even know if they believe anymore, they're doubting their faith. I've seen that over the years, it happens often. Beloved, God wants us to move us out of this type of immaturity. God says "I don't want you to be unstable like people, that with every wave that comes there up and down up and down", Paul says "I want you to be strengthened, that your faith will become sturdy". God wants to maintain us by his power with the spirit of stability.
I remember years ago shortly after I graduated Bible school in the 1980s. I'd gone to Bible school, you know I'm originally from Cleveland Ohio, and I had met this guy in Bible school, and after we had graduated I eventually went to pastor a church in Pennsylvania and he had moved out to west Virginia. And it was about a year after we had graduated was approximately 1986-87 or so, and he invited me to come and take a take a few days to spend in his house in west Virginia.
So my wife Cynthia and I went to west Virginia and I had the most incredible visitation from the Lord that night. In the middle of my sleep the Lord came to me (again, about 1987) in a vision, and this vision was so majestic, it was so glorious, it was so powerful, it was so far beyond anything that my mind could have created or made up, it was so unlike anything I'd ever thought about. Here's what I saw in the middle of that night: I saw this huge powerful warship on the ocean at night. And I was on the warship and I was on towards, the front of that warship standing on the deck. And I saw this warship in the night cutting through the ocean, and their ways were up and down, again it was dark outside, but there was enough light that that I could at least see the ocean and see the warship, but the warship was just going strong and steady through the ocean night, through those waves.
And it was so beautiful and so powerful, and it struck me so much. I never forgot it, but I didn't know what it meant. And I prayed about it over the years, "Lord, what was that? Why did I have that glorious vision of the warship, where I was standing and towards the front of the warship seeing all this in the vision"? And I believe that the Lord eventually brought me clarity and showed me: that's how you are, that's how I want to make you. You're living in a world that's filled with darkness, you can see but like you could see just a little bit over the ocean that night because it was night, so is your experience on this earth.
Paul says "We see through the glass dimly in this world". The whole world lies in the power of the wicked one. A lot of spiritual darkness on the earth. Yes, there's some light, but certainly not the fullness of light, we're living in a very great place. And then there were the waves, the ups and downs of the ocean, and certainly that describes your experience, and my experience on the earth. We're living in a world filled with darkness, and we go through there's ups and downs and our circumstances, and our emotions, but what the Lord wants to do beloved is he wants to make us like that warship that I just described for you. We're warriors. Cutting through this world of darkness, cutting through the ups and downs of circumstances and feelings, going powerfully and steady as conquerors forward through this world of darkness, and this world where circumstances are always changing.
And so once again, Paul prays there, "I pray", he said, "That you would be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience". Paul says, "I want you to be strengthened. I'm praying that you'll be strengthened with the glorious power of God". And he says that, "One of the reasons I want you to be strengthened is so that you will grow in patience". Hear the Word of God, Paul says that you would be "Strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness", which we talked about, "and patience".
You know some of us we hear that word "Patience", and we get irritable just hearing the word, because of all the frustration that we feel emotionally, because of our lack of patience. I know that myself being a very high wired person, and a person that thinks quickly, and talks quickly, and moves quickly, and wants things to happen quickly, how oftentimes I am frustrated because things aren't moving quicker. And I know that this needs to change in me, that I need to become more able to have a spirit of patience over circumstances, and my loved ones, and people on the road when I'm travelling in my automobile. That patience is a virtue, and it comes by our psyche and our soul being girded by the Holy Spirit.
The Bible says love is patient. So for example, if we're traveling on the road and somebody's in front of us, and you know, we're waiting at a stop sign, and the person in front of us at the stop sign, you know, you're looking down this way, you're looking down this way, he could easily or she could easily go, but instead they're sitting there, sitting there, waiting forever to finally go. And it's just like "What's wrong? Go! What's the problem"? And I know that, as I grow in the Lord, he's put his finger on my heart that I need to deal more disciplined in terms of my emotional response, and the charge that I said I feel towards people, that are slower than I am.
Paul said, "I want you to be strengthened that you would grow in patience". Patience, beloved, especially get it now with our loved ones. How many of us find ourselves losing our patience more often than we should with our loved ones? This is a sign of spiritual immaturity. And one of the greatest miracles of all, perhaps the greatest miracle that I've ever experienced is the transforming of my own soul and psyche by the Holy Spirit. I have such a long way to go, we all do, but when I see where I am today, beloved, in terms of the way that I walk, in my ability to be patient, in my ability to love, when I see where I am now, as compared to where I was 10 years ago, it's amazing the spiritual transformation.
And one of the things that encourages me so much, as my wife Cynthia is always sharing with me how amazed she is having been married to me now for 34 years, with the amount of supernatural transformation that's taken place in my life. And one of the ares that she's seen this in is my ability to hold myself, and to practice patience. It doesn't mean it's easy. It doesn't mean it's easy, but we harness our emotions, we harness the way we react, we harness the way we respond. We become constrained by the Holy Spirit. As opposed to just living out of our own emotional disposition, and because we're restrained by the Holy Spirit, we show a supernatural ability, beloved, to be patient with people. This is a true mark of being strengthened by the Lord.
Let's continue on here. Paul says, "I want you to be strengthened. And one of the things that's gonna happen", Paul says, "As you're strengthened is that you're gonna become more patient". I just want to share this last example with you before we move on. I remember years ago, over 10 years ago, when the Lord began to put his finger on this area of my life: patience. You see, sometimes God brings circumstances into our life, that will challenge us or bring to the surface that area that he wants to change. And I know for me, my disposition being a type-a personality, like some of you are, you know, we're running full steam ahead. Some people call me the ninja rabbi, because I just put my eyes on something, I'm moving towards that thing, and I'm not gonna let myself get distracted, I'm not gonna let anything get in the way, I'm just heading towards that thing I'm trying to accomplish, and I don't slow down.
So when you have a personality that's got your eyes set on something, and you don't want to be slowed down, if there's anything that gets in the way, your natural emotional response in the natural to that is to become irritated. Why? Because it's in the way of what you're trying to accomplish. I think some of you can understand what I'm talking about. So that's a blessing in a way, that type of temperament, because it allows people that have that temperament to accomplish a lot of things. The people that don't have that temperament aren't able to do. But it also can be a curse. Sometimes our greatest asset can be our greatest liability, and sometimes our greatest strength can become our greatest weakness - it's both.
And so that was a great strength of mine because I was so focused on getting something done, and not allowing anything to get in the way, I was able to have great impact. But it also was a curse, because it meant that sometimes I wasn't as sensitive relationally to people, and to their hearts and emotions, as God wanted me to be. So the Lord wanted to put his finger on that in my life. And so, sometimes what the Lord will do, will bring circumstances into our life, so that he can bring to the surface that thing that he wants to change. So for me what the Lord did is: he put me with my helpmate, my wife Cynthia, we have exact opposite personality temperaments. My wife is just very relational, very smooth, very steady. Where I am very, you know, just driven and focused, very different personality types.
So because of the different personality types we do things differently. And with my wife's personality type, one of the challenges that she has is being on time for appointments. So for me not being on time for an appointment is terrible. I hate that, I like to be early because I can take my time getting there, I'm not stressed, I'm not rushing, rushing, rushing to try to get there. I can get to the appointment early, sit down, have a cup of coffee if I want to, I love that kind of a feeling. To think that I'm running behind, we're playing catch-up, we're gonna be five minutes late, I hate that. So what do I do have to kind of work out my life? I'm married to a woman, and her time schedule is just on a different clock than mine.
So, for so many years I would get so angry and so upset was Cynthia, because she wasn't running on my time schedule, particularly when it came to being on time or early for appointments. So as God began to put his finger on my life about this, and not losing my temper about this, and not becoming angry about this, and trying to view, you know, not being on time through a different parable, because of this challenge that I was running into with Cynthia's different time table.
God is putting his finger on it, so we have this really important meeting, we were holding a crusade meeting in the middle of a downtown area outside. And I had a Messianic dance team, that I was bringing with me. And I'm waiting to leave to go, and I'm waiting for my beautiful wife, and what's happening? Beloved, she's running behind, which is kind of a spinto... She's so much better now, praise God, but during these days it was just kind of the norm.
I had done everything I could to try to let Cynthia know: we need to be there, and now beloved I'm in the same situation again, we're in the car, we're driving to the meeting this outdoor crew say where I'm preaching, my dance teams already they're waiting for me, and we're driving, and I know we're gonna be late. I am so upset, I am so mad, I am simmering inside, I wanted to yell and scream at my wife. Every cell in me was just wanting to just scream at my wife, "You made me late again. We're gonna be late", but you know what? The Lord have been putting his finger on my heart, "No. Stop losing your temper. Stop screaming at your wife. Stop blaming her for this".
And remember, this is about 10 years ago. I want you to hear me: it took, I kid you not, I'll never forget it, it took all the emotional strength that I had to not yell at my wife that day. I remember sitting in the car next to her, and everything in me beloved ones wanted to scream at her "We're gonna be late again", but I held myself, took again all my strength, and I didn't scream. And you know what happened? I tracked us patients, we're talking about being strengthened by the Spirit of God to be patient.
I practice patience, I denied myself, and I kid you not, that day something supernatural changed in me, and I was never the same again, because I overcame my own temperament of being impatient by the power of the spirit to be patient, and I was never the same again. From that day forward I had a patience that I never had before. And it was easier and easier for me now to be patient with people around me. Not that I never lose my patience, I don't want to in any way say that, but beloved I'm operating in a whole new level, and it came because I chose the Holy Spirit to draw up his power, and in doing so I overcome. And as you choose beloved the Holy Spirit's power, you too will be changed.