rooted in Christ; growing together

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:6-7)

Small-Groups-LogoHere’s an image to consider. Eight men – all intelligent, accomplished, and enthusiastic about life – sitting around a table engaged in deep conversation about faith; praying together, studying the scripture, celebrating joys, and sharing concerns.

That’s the Wednesday evening covenant group I’m a part of. We’re reading Colossians, and this week’s selection started with the above two verses, verses that happen to be the heart of the WFPC mission statement: “Rooted in Christ; Growing together in faith; Reaching out to others.”

Then, at the tail end of the reading, Paul offers the following interesting idea:

You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. (Colossians 2:20-22)

Paul was referencing rules (in scripture) that some believers still held onto because they were missing the point about grace and freedom.

He was also talking about the “rules” of the ambient culture, and today I find myself challenged to ask why is it that I live as if I still belonged to the world? Why do I submit to the values, regulations, priorities, ideologies, gods etc. of 21st Century North America, rather than being “rooted and built up in Jesus, established in faith, abounding in thanksgiving”?

It’s a good question. Provocative.

Rooted in Christ
Rooted in Christ

It’s an especially good question in light of what Paul goes on to write in verse 22, “Mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them…” Wow! That’s an interesting concept. It calls to mind the answer Jesus gave when – trying to trick him – the religious leaders asked who a hypothetical man would be married to “in the life to come” if he’d had more than one wife. (Luke 20:27-40)

You’re asking the wrong questions, Jesus implied. “Those who belong to this age marry and are given in marriage; but those who are considered worthy of a place in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage.

Jesus’ contemporaries, Paul’s contemporaries, and Christians today (self included) were so hung up – are so hung up – on legalistic questions and arguments concerning “things that deteriorate as we use them….” When what is permanent, what is incorruptible, what has real substance, is Jesus, the Kingdom, our relationship with God.

DSC_0328-001If we really want to be rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, then isn’t the point (and this comes up in Colossians 3:16), to “Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill our lives“?

Always learning from The Word – DEREK

 

2 comments

  1. That is so powerful and true about our hangups and worldly beliefs and yet we still hang onto them. Some of us do it out of ignorance and many because we don’t want to let go of traditions that leave us limited in our Christian experience. When Jesus comes many in the body of Christ will have been awaiting living a victorious life while others will be hanging on to dead weight.

    Like

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