"For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face, that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God's mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument." (Colossians 2:1-4)Paul speaks of the struggle he has on behalf of those believers that lived beyond his reach. The Greek word for "struggle" means to be lead forth to an assembly, such as a contest or competition. Paul's struggle was not something that came to him but something that the Spirit of God within him drew him to. Paul was drawn into the battle for the lives of believers everywhere. Paul freely entered into the contest for souls; that they would come to know Jesus and remain faithful to Him throughout their lives. This was the daily battle that Paul waged in the Spirit.
Paul's battle on their behalf was for four specific things. First that they would be encouraged. The Greek word for "encouragement" comes from two root words that literally mean to "call near." Paul's heart was that the people would find encouragement as they were drawn near to each other and to the Lord. Just as we cannot survive without the Lord, neither can we survive without the brethren. When we live alone we are left to our own devices and the constant barrage of the enemy. However, when we live together in community we have brotherhood and the encouragement of the saints.
Secondly, Paul seeks that they would find unity in love. Later, Paul will command them, "Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity." (Colossians 3:14) Unity is not found in doctrine or tradition but is the byproduct of love. There are many who have tried to achieve unity by proposing compromise on doctrinal issues. However, without love, no real unity will ever be achieved through these means. We must return to loving each other as Christ has loved us. Only then will we find true unity. Jesus said, "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:35)
Thirdly, Paul seeks the fullness of life that comes from full assurance of faith. This does not mean that we no longer have doubts, but it does mean that we are fully assured as to who has all the answers. I may doubt my present circumstances and whether or not I am walking in the will of God, but I have full assurance as to the one knows all things and cares for me even when I don't care for myself. This full assurance give me confidence, peace, and boldness as I go throughout my life. A person who lacks such assurance is constantly looking for answers; constantly seeking for what is right in front of them. Much of Paul's teaching ministry was directed at educating mankind's understanding that they too might have full assurance.
Lastly, Paul's desire was that all would grow into a full knowledge of God. The knowledge of God is something we grow in as we walk with God. It is also in the knowledge of God that all knowledge, wisdom, and understanding is opened up to us, for in Him are the answers to all of life's mysteries. Having come to God, there is no one else we must go to to find answers. In Paul's day there were many who were going around saying they knew the way and they alone had special knowledge and understanding. They insisted that you come to them to gain wisdom and knowledge. However, all we need is God. Paul's struggle for encouragement, unity, assurance, and growth was so that we may not be deluded by those seeking to draw us away after themselves. There is no need to be deluded any further. Therefore let us continue to grow closer to God and to live in love with one another.