“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:6-7
Relationship with God is the most important relationship that we can ever have in life. It is the only relationship that spans time and eternity, all others are temporary. In fact, everything about our lives revolves around it. Therefore, we must pay serious attention to it.
Paul was writing to people who had recently come to know the Lord. He was saying to them: now that you have received Christ as your Saviour, live like Christians. Their walk (which is a metaphor for lifestyle) should match their talk. He would say to another Church: “Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” (Philippians 1:27). If everyone who professes to be a Christian really lived like one, the world would be a better place.
It was said that someone hired an agent to spy on Hudson Taylor (that great missionary to China and founder of the China Inland Mission) with the intention of finding something that he could use to discredit Hudson Taylor and his ministry. However, the opposite happened. Within three months of observing Hudson Taylor’s life, the spy became a Christian. He saw something in Hudson Taylor that made him desire what he had. Our greatest witness is not our talk but our walk.
ROOTED AND BUILT UP
Paul gave a prescription for a Christian’s spiritual development in Colossians 2:7 “rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.” He employs three metaphors from three fields: rooted (from agriculture); built up (from architecture); and established (from Law). The result will be an unshakable faith and a life abounding with thanksgiving.
We know that the real life of a tree is beneath the surface, and the strength of any building is its foundation which is also underneath. What appears on the outside is dependent on that which is hidden. The Christian life is also built as a tree or house is built, from within. The deeper you go the firmer you will be.
Whether it is a tree or building, the depth would determine the height, the weight and the strength or resilience. Strong trees have their roots deep in the soil where they take hold of the rocks and access water below. These kinds of trees can withstand strong winds and pressures. It is also true concerning buildings that have strong foundations. Jesus alluded to this when He said: “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.” Matthew 7:24-25.
Our root must go deep in Christ (Ephesians 3:16-18). Our survival as Christians depends upon it. Just as plants draw nourishment from the soil through their root system so the Believer should draw life-giving strength from Christ. Any plant will die unless it has something in which its roots can dig into and draw nourishment and stability from.
SPIRITUAL GROWTH AND FRUITFULNESS
Spiritual growth must be personal and intentional. Each person must take personal responsibility for his spiritual growth. What the church does is to provide enabling environment for spiritual development to happen but each person must do something for their own growth. As the saying goes, “You can take the horse to the water but you can’t force it to drink.” The daily choices we make, the Christian disciplines we cultivate, such as Bible study, prayer, fellowship, witnessing to Christ etc affect our spiritual development.
We have seen people who appeared strong on the outside but when pressures came their way they easily gave in. They seemed formidable on the outside but lacked root or strong foundation. When we look at the global church scene today we see so much shallowness, so much superficiality, but little or no depth. No wonder there is so much compromise and unfruitfulness.
Prophet Isaiah declared to Israel: “And the remnant who have escaped of the house of Judah Shall again take root downward, And bear fruit upward.” Isaiah 37:31. That is how God always wanted it: take root downward and bear fruit upward. When our root is deep and strong in the Lord, we will invariably live fruitful lives. Jesus said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 ” I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5).
SECRET HISTORY WITH GOD
Our real strength is beneath the surface. The enemy often underestimates our strength because it is not obvious to the eyes. That was the mistake Goliath made about David. He looked at the ‘lad’ and disdained him. Someone said: “I am a thousand times bigger inside than I am outside!” David was that kind of person. He had built up secret history with God whilst he was in the wilderness, away from the public. Even his family wasn’t aware of his resume’. He had fought and won battles with bears and lions; he had had private victories, so Goliath was not a big deal for him.
The tragedy of our time is that we have people who appear strong on the outside but are weak inside, people who cannot withstand anything, who cave in at the slightest pressure. They have no private account of God’s dealings. If we are to ‘withstand in the evil day’ then we must be strong in the Lord and the power of His might (Ephesians 6:10-13). The way to be strong is to go deeper in the Lord.
A Christian whose life is deeply rooted in Christ will always abound with thanksgiving no matter what. He knows “… that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV). Such a person will be resilient, no matter what comes his way. He is like the house built on the Rock. He will go all the way with the Lord and be fruitful in all seasons.