As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Colossians 2:6-7
Sometimes we make things more complicated than they have to be. However, simple doesn’t always mean easy. Take the Christian life, for example. Paul spent a good portion of his ministry instructing and encouraging believers in the hows and whys of new life. In the letter to Colossians, he gave a two-verse summary that is worth a closer look.
Why does it matter?
Paul builds on what he has written previously with “as you therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord.” In this case, the ‘as’ is used like ‘since.’ So, since you have received Christ Jesus the Lord. Not His doctrine. Not a membership in His church. You have received Him, the anointed sovereign of the universe living in you. This was not a decision entered into lightly. (Hopefully.) The implications are staggering. But because of that decision, everything going forward must be different.
It is active.
Walk in Him. It is a way of life, a manner of living. Receiving Jesus is not an intellectual exercise or an emotional experience primarily, although emotions and intellect are involved. In fact, we’ll talk about intellect later in this post. But Christ saved to do things, to do His kingdom work. We do that each day, patterning our lives after His. We maintain close communion with the Father. We tell people about the hope in the gospel. We serve others. We show compassion and mercy. We treat people with dignity.
It is as much unseen as seen.
We usually don’t see a tree’s roots. But there is often as much below ground as above ground, anchoring and nourishing the tree. A good deal of our Christian life, especially the growing happens behind the scenes. This means our growth is going to happen in private moments, in quiet times, when we are alone with God, studying, praying, listening, learning. If we don’t invest effort here, we will not be sufficiently anchored or nourished.
It’s a process.
In the Greek, built up is a continuous action. The Christian life is an immediate reality as soon as we believe, but it is also a process. We are built up in Him day by day, step by step, experience by experience. Since it’s a process, it requires time and patience. But the end result is that we are established in the faith. Solid. Mature. Unshakable.
It involves intellect.
God didn’t save us to be robots, marked by mindless obedience. He reveals His precepts, His character, and His purposes. That revelation engages our minds. We think about what He’s told us. We consider the implications. We meditate on that truth.
It requires the right attitude.
With thanksgiving. Not pride. Not with an agenda to advance. Not with entitlement. With thanksgiving.