(For Part I of this series, click here.)
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue
to live in him “- Colossians 2:6
A few weeks ago, I gave my friend, Beth, a little gift. She’d expressed an interest in learning to knit, so I bought her some needles and a book of beginner patterns. I invited her over, gave her the gift, and let her pick some yarn from my stash. Then we sat down, and I taught her how to knit. We spent a few hours together sharing stories, sipping coffee, and knitting.
Over the next few days, I’d see updates from Beth on my facebook feed. “Feeling determined” she’d say, with a picture of her knitting. Once, she got stuck and had to call for some help, but her project slowly grew. (In fact, before I even finished this post, she finished her first project!) It’s obvious that she is working towards the goal of learning to knit.
In other words, she’s continuing.
But what if it had gone differently? What if I had Beth over and, upon receiving the gift I bought for her, she simply set the bag aside? She never pulled out the needles. Never looked at the patterns or picked out yarn. She just never started knitting.
She might even take the gift home with her. Maybe, over the next few years, she’d pull it out every once in a while. Maybe she’d show it to people and tell them, “Lori gave me knitting needles! I’m learning to knit!”
It wouldn’t take long for most people to it figure out. Sure, they’d see needles in that bag, but they would know that she’s never going to learn how to knit.
Because she isn’t continuing in what she received.
In the verse from Colossians, Paul says that receiving and continuing happen by the same means. He says we are to continue “just as” we received. That’s because the same power that motivates us to receive keeps working by prompting us to continue. They are the twin results of God’s power in us. And they cannot be separated.
Receiving without continuing is like walking around with knitting needles and never learning how to knit. And the sad part of that is, we miss the real gift which is, of course, learning to knit.
When we receive Christ, we receive God himself. We continue in him because knowing him IS the gift.
Receiving without continuing is never to have received at all.
Don’t miss the gift: continue on…
(To read Part III of this series, click here.)