Colossians 2:6-7 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Paul expands on this for the next several verses, but this explains the basics of Christian living pretty well. It has to start with the Lordship of Jesus Christ. As came out yesterday, there is no salvation apart from that. However, accepting Him as Lord isn’t a “once and done” sort of thing; we have to keep walking it out. That’s exactly the idiom the Japanese uses, following the Greek. “Living in Him” is true enough, but it can seem theoretical at times, whereas walking is a concrete activity we can all relate to. However, that activity has got to be tethered to Him. Just as a plant can’t grow without roots, so we have to be rooted in Him to grow. This goes back to the extended image of the vine and the branches that Jesus Himself used in the Upper Room. (John 15:1-8) Also, ours is not a “fact-free faith,” as some accuse us of practicing. There is plenty of verifiable history to it, and in contrast to the people to whom Paul was writing, we have the whole Bible readily available to us. Sadly, many cultural Christians seldom if ever read the Bible, and that is dangerous indeed. Society is playing out before our eyes what happens when Americans are ignorant of their founding documents – the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights – and ignorance of the Word of God is even more dangerous. Just as some people are insisting that the US Constitution is a “living document” that should change with the times, some people are twisting the Bible and ignoring the parts they don’t like in order to make it “fit” their chosen lifestyle. That is the height of self-deception, fostered by the father of lies. (John 8:44) However, when we choose submission to Christ, live in fellowship with Him, and grow in faith and in knowledge of His truth, then we have every reason to overflow with thankfulness, because we have greater riches than this world could possibly generate.
Of course this applies as much to me as it does to anyone. I have been incredibly blessed, but what sets me apart from many is that I realize it! As comes out again and again in the Bible, gratitude is indeed the key to happiness. (Actually, secular psychologists confirm that as well, but they don’t necessarily grasp to Whom we should be grateful.) However, I’m not to take any of those blessings for granted but recognize that they are all grace, and not something I have earned or to which I’m entitled. Such an attitude would extinguish my gratitude, and thus my joy. I have been given the privilege of sharing God’s grace with those around me in many ways, and the more I do that, the more that grace abounds to me. I happen to fill the office of pastor, but I need to help the believers understand that they are just as much instruments of God’s grace as I am, whatever their specific title or occupation. At root, we are all children of God and His agents to the world around us. I am to be training believers to recognize that and live it out.
Father, thank You for this clear image. It relates to what I feel You would have me speak on Sunday, but I don’t know exactly how yet. Help me hear You clearly so that Your Word may go out undistorted, building up the Body of Christ for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!