6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
The Exhortation. Paul’s words here unlock the central theme of Colossians. Sometimes God’s people go looking for extra experiences and blessings due to their lack of growth and maturity. They have received Christ, but their faith has shriveled and dried up. This is the opposite of the New Testament expectation.
- As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so now live. When we turn to Jesus Christ, through his Spirit he takes up residence in our lives. And as there are many things in our lives with which he is not comfortable, there is a lot of cleaning up to do. But, as anyone who has been involved in renovation and repairs knows, it takes longer and costs much more than expected. It’s like that with our lives. It takes longer and costs a lot more to make our lives a place fit for the king. The challenge is to make Christ Lord in every part of our daily lives.
Paul often uses the imagery of putting off the old and bringing in the new. Colossians 3, as we will see, provides examples of the kinds of practical things Jesus wants to see happen in our lives.
- As you were rooted… be built up. Paul seems to be mixing his metaphors here – one from the world of botany, the other from building. But his meaning is clear: he is keen to see growth. He doesn’t want stunted followers of Jesus Christ in Colossae – or anywhere else. What then do we need to do? Look for more ecstatic experiences? No! A genuine experience of Christ rarely comes to someone who is not spending time in the Bible. This is one of the reasons for this 40-Days of Readings and Reflections.
Sometimes we aren’t motivated to dig deeper into the Bible until we have experienced a crisis, sickness at home, or the death of a friend. Only when we see the houses, cars, the costly jewels of the world for what they are, goods and trinkets that have a fading and passing splendor, we see the reality of God’s truth. And then we begin to grow.
- As you were taught… be established in the truth. For some years a little saying kept me focused on the need for consistent Bible reading in my life: ‘No Bible, no breakfast; no prayer, no paper.’ The danger with this kind of line is that Bible reading and prayer become a law. But if it is taken as a guide it can be a useful reminder of the need for daily Bible reading and prayer.
And don’t ignore Paul’s concluding exhortation: …abounding in thanksgiving. To have a thankful heart is to have a contented heart. How often do we get anxious because thankfulness to God is not part of our psyche. The sense of thankfulness within us is a real measure of our growth in Christ. We cannot get taken up with our own desires and moans and groans for long if a spirit of thankfulness to Christ is an essential part of our thinking and attitudes – because we know deep down that he is the Lord, he is the good shepherd bringing good for us out of all the confusion and frustration of life.
You may want to consider:
- how you can be rooted and built up in Jesus Christ – developing and maintaining a meaningful relationship with God – in tough times as well as good times;
- what abounding in thanksgiving might look like in your life.
Let me encourage you to pray:
© John G. Mason, Reason for Hope – 40 Days of Bible Readings and Reflections – 2016. All Rights Reserved.