This is the reason that I work hard and struggle also, using God's mighty power which is at work in me.
But I am whatever I am because of God's unearned favor, and the favor He showed me was not for nothing [i.e., Paul made the most of his conversion by being extra diligent in his service to God]. But I worked harder than all the other apostles, yet it was not I, but God's favor on me [that accomplished it].
and what God's tremendous power [working] in us believers is. [This power is] the same as that utilized by God's mighty strength,
I want you to know how much I am struggling for you [Note: This probably refers to the great effort Paul was exerting in prayer, preaching, etc.], and for those at Laodicia [Note: This was a town ten miles west of Colosse], and for all those who have never met me in person.
Epaphras, who is one of you [See 1:7; 4:9], a slave of Christ Jesus, sends you his greetings. He always struggles in his prayers on your behalf so that you will remain mature and be fully convinced [that you are living] by all that God wants [for your life].
"You should try hard to enter [God's kingdom] by means of the narrow door, for I tell you, many people will try to enter it but will not be able to.
Now it has been my ambition to preach the good news at places where Christ's name has never been heard, so that I would not be building on someone else's foundation.
Now I urge you, brothers, through our Lord Jesus Christ [See 12:1], and through the Holy Spirit's love [in us], that you people join me in fervently praying to God for me
And everyone who [strenuously] competes in athletic events exercises self-control during training. Now they do this to receive a laurel wreath that withers, but we [do it to receive] a lasting crown.
And there are a variety of [Christian] activities, but the same God provides the power for everyone to do all of them [i.e., it is God who empowers every person who has a gift].
Now all of these [supernatural gifts] are the work of one and the same Holy Spirit, who distributes them to each person individually as He desires.
So, we are also eager to please God very much, whether we are at home [in our body] or away from it.
[We have been] beaten, jailed, and mobbed. [We have] worked hard, missed sleep and gone without food.
Are they servants of Christ? (I am really talking like a crazy person now). I am more [of a servant, than they are]. I have worked much harder. I have been in prison more often. I have been flogged more severely. I have been in danger of death more frequently.
But God said to me, "My unearned favor is enough for you, for my power is made complete in [your] weakness." Therefore, I will most gladly boast, so that the power of Christ can rest on me.
since you are looking for proof that Christ is speaking through me. Christ is not weak in His dealing with you, but is powerful among you. [Note: Paul probably refers to the positive effects of his ministry there in Corinth].
I was made a minister [of the Gospel] according to the gift of God's unearned favor, which was given to me according to the working of His power.
May there be to God, who is able to do infinitely more [for us] than we could [even] ask or think, according to [His] power at work in us ---
So, [whatever happens], live your daily lives in such a way as to be worthy of the Gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or remain absent from you, I will hear about you, that you are standing firm in one spirit [i.e., united in purpose, and] contending with one mind for the faith of the Gospel [i.e., for the body of Christian teaching].
[So], you are now experiencing the same struggle you [once] saw me going through, and now are hearing that I still am.
for it is God who is at work in you, both to motivate the desire and to carry out what pleases Him.
as you hold out [i.e., offer to people] the message of [never ending] life. Then I will have something to boast about on the day of Christ's [return, See 1:6], that I had not run the race for nothing nor had worked for nothing.
For you brothers remember how we labored and toiled, working hard night and day, so that we would not burden any of you [while] we proclaimed to you the Gospel of God.
neither did we eat anyone's food without paying for it. But by hard labor and toil, we worked night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you.
So, I endure everything for the elect's sake [i.e., God's people], so that they can obtain the salvation which comes through Christ Jesus, with [its] never ending splendor.
You have not yet resisted to the point of [shedding] blood in your struggle against sin.
equip you with every good deed for doing God's will. [May He] work in us [to accomplish] what is very pleasing in His sight through [the power of] Jesus Christ. May there be praise to Him forever and ever. May it be so.
And you have persevered and endured [suffering] for my name's sake [i.e., in my service] and [yet] have not grown weary.