UPDATE (1/14/14): An edited version of this material will appear in the upcoming book, Grow Down, through Group Publishing.
Part 3 of the manuscript for "Rooted Faith – Grow Down" (continued from yesterday…):
The Biblical idea of life is not that we grow up… but that we grow down into Jesus to be in Him. We are to establish our roots deeply and more deeply into him. And as we remain in Him, he remains in us and nourishes us with his life.
Colossians 2:6-7 says this:
“Now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to live in obedience to him. Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him, so you will grow in faith, strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Let your lives overflow with thanksgiving for all he has done.”
These verses fit into the book of Colossians, a letter that is concerned about who CHRIST is and what difference He makes for us. And immediately in the letter, and then all throughout the letter, we are struck with this simple truth: Jesus Christ is who matters. Christ is the pure focus of life of this letter. Paul, who wrote this, sums it all up in chapter 3 verse 11: “Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.”
The people in the town of Colosse, that Paul wrote this letter too, had embraced Jesus. We read in 1:7 about a guy named Epaphras, who is from Colosse and who had become a Christian. Epaphras went back to his home town and had told people and taught them about Jesus. Many many people believed and received Jesus into their lives. So when Paul says in verse 6, “Just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord” he is reminding them of their commitment and of their union with Christ. The word for “accepted” is one of my favorite words in the Bible. It’s this idea that you are offered a gift and you reach out your arms and draw this gift into yourself; you embrace the gifts as yours. You life holds this gift. You have received and accepted it as yours. So, just as you have accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, so now you must continue to live in obedience to him.” In other words, be faithful to what you have made yours. In the verses before and after 2:6-7, Paul encourages the Colossians to not get diverted and blown over by other things. Keep Jesus in your heart and your heart in Jesus.
That’s why Paul says: “Let your roots GROW DOWN into him.”
There is so much hope for us. I believe that we as adults actually have what it takes to live out a life of genuine faith because I believe we can establish our lives in such a way that when the complicated and distracting pressures, when those adulterating winds blow and threaten to toss us about, no matter how hard or how often, when we are rooted in Jesus Christ we can stand firmly. Even if all else around us falls, we will survive any storm and stand as a symbol of strength and love for the generations that follow us as we grow down into Jesus.
As we grow down deeper in Christ, our faith becomes rooted… and this causes us to stand firm with truth and not be moved; we will not be shaken. Growing down means that we learn to soak in all that he has. And his resources are limitless. His power, his truth, his humility, his love, his wisdom, his creativity, his passion; all of it endless. Growing down will change our lives. It’s no wonder that Paul thinks that people should be rooted in Christ. There is no better way to grow than down in him. Jesus is incredible. (Just consider JESUS for a moment… Colossians 1:14ff.)
For the full audio version: 2009-06-07 Rooted Faith – Grow Down – Ken Castor