(Part I of this series begins here.)
Rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”
Well, hey. If that ain’t a scripture worthy of a tagline, I don’t know what is.
In this series, I’ve been sharing what “Continuing” means. It’s what this blog is all about, and it’s based on these scriptures from Colossians. Last time, I talked about how receiving Christ and continuing in him are really two inseparable things. But if we want to continue, we need to know how. Verse 7 tells us.
People who continue are:
Rooted: And not just rooted, but rooted “in him.” (That’s Jesus!) Have you ever transplanted a seedling? Strong roots are established in nurturing soil. Once we are confident that it will hold securely in that soil, we say it is “rooted.” When Christians become rooted:
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ”
The brass tacks: Those who are firmly rooted in Christ are not swayed by every wind of teaching, because they are firmly established in Christ for direction. Another indicator of a firmly rooted Christian is they speak the truth in love.
Built up: Strong roots under the ground produce strong plants above. So having a firm foundation, we are able to build upon it according to sound design.
Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”
The brass tacks: If you want to be built up, hang out with God’s Word and the people who live it out.
Strengthened in the faith: What has been properly built must be tested, so that it’s strength will be confirmed.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
The brass tacks: People with strong faith have been through the storm, stayed true to God and his ways, and found that he is reliable. These may not be fun lessons to learn, but they are undeniably faith-affirming (if we hang on till the end!)
Overflowing with thankfulness: Every storm that God sees us through fine-tunes our awareness of his provision. We start to see lots of things he’s doing that we’ve never seen before, and we can’t help being thankful!
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire.'”
The brass tacks: God’s faithfulness during our trials here on earth is a glimpse of the bigger picture. We are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken. The clearer this becomes, the more we worship him in thanks.
These four aspects of continuing are wonderful checks for our own growth. We know we’re continuing if these characteristics continue to develop in us.
These four: rooted, built up, strengthened, and thankful, are also categories on this blog that I’ll be adding to over time. Check them out when you need some inspiration!
(For Part IV of this series, click here.)