How Then Shall We Live?

“So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”

Colossians 2:6-7, NIV

These verses were the focus of my devotions as I work my way through Paul’s letter to the believers at Colossae. I’m still trying to unpack all the meaning crammed into those two short verses.

Paul uses several images to tell his readers–and us–how we should be living our lives as Christians. And I’m just going to work my way through them as I “talk” with you all.

It’s starts with us receiving Jesus as lord, doesn’t it? Paul doesn’t say as “savior,” though Jesus is our savior. We must also accept him as Lord, as Kyrion. I had a general idea of what “lord” meant, but I just researched the meaning of the Greek, and wow! It’s powerful–and challenging. HELPS Word Studies says it refers to “a person exercising absolute ownership rights.” And Thayer’s Greek Lexicon describes “lord” as “he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has the power of deciding.”

Again, wow!

I have to ask myself if I really live as though I have accepted Christ Jesus as lord. Do I regularly–no, do I always–yield to him the power to decide every aspect of my life? I’ll have to admit, I’m not there yet. And that saddens me. But it’s also a goad. (Ah, a good biblical word.) I’m praying that this new insight will spur me on to a fuller understanding of lordship and to a greater commitment to letting Christ actually be lord of my life. Lord of all of my life.

I just had a revealing moment as I took a break to bring in the mail that was just delivered. I got that out of the way and then sat down again to write. But my mind wasn’t focusing, so I considered taking a break. But I realized that to do so at this time would be to yield to the flesh and not the Spirit. Did I need a break now? No. I just needed to yield to Jesus as lord and to get back to the work he had given me to do.

I’m then led to the question, How? How do I, in my day-to-day life, yield to Christ “absolute ownership rights” and “the power of deciding”?

In Colossians 2:6, Paul says to live lives rooted in Jesus. Now I’m not a gardener, but I do know how important roots are to a plant. Roots draw in the nutrients and send them to the whole plant. But roots also supply stability to the plant. None of us want to be spiritual tumbleweeds, do we? All dried up and blown here and there by the wind. I know I don’t, so I must make sure I am rooted in Jesus.

I don’t want to be spiritually dead either. Wasted away because of lack of food. I need to make sure that I stay rooted in Jesus. That my spiritual food comes from him not the world. That my stability is due to being rooted in him, not because of family relationships or church membership or . . . And I need to make sure there is no one bent on digging me up, cutting me off from my source of life. (Just as the squirrels did to the succulents in my garden. Twice!)

Paul also tells us to live our lives being built on the foundation of Jesus. I’m aware that the foundation of a building is important, but I was less sure of the details. So, I checked it out. It turns out Paul used a pretty good image. But that’s not surprising, is it, seeing as how all Scripture is inspired by God.

Here’s what a builder has to say about foundations:
“Foundations are the first part of any construction. They are incredibly important to the durability
of a building . . . without a stable foundation, a building will not be reliable nor last a long time”
(mperryassociates.com).

A foundation supports the entire structure, which I’m sure you already knew. But this site said one more interesting thing: “a foundation maps out the rest of the building’s construction.” It seems obvious, doesn’t it. But I’ve never before thought about a foundation in this way. What is built above the foundation is determined by the size, shape, and composition of the foundation itself. After all, you’re not going to build a circular structure on a square foundation. (At least, I hope you’re not.)

But what does that say about what we’re building? Does what I am doing with with my life conform to the foundation Jesus has laid? If I want my life and my life work to be stable and to last, I must make sure that every brick I lay is laid to conform to the foundation Christ has already laid.

Overall, having studied these verses, I’m left with the overpowering need to focus more and more on Jesus. On who he is. On what it means for him to be my lord, not just in a general sense by in my daily, moment-by-moment activities, speech, thoughts. I need to stay focused on being rooted in him. On making sure that the things I do are in line with the things he has marked out for me to do. That I am building on the foundation he has laid.

For me, that’s going to have to be less TV time. More time in the Word. More time meditating on how to apply the Word. More time focusing on the writing target he has laid on my heart. But also more time spent with the body of Christ, where there can be mutual encouragement and where others can spur me on to love and good deeds.

Soul Refreshers for your week:

  • What does it mean to you to be rooted and built up in Christ? How does that get worked out in your day-to-day life?
  • Think about the people or things that try to uproot you from Jesus. Ask for God’s strength to remain rooted in him. Pray about how you can handle these garden pests.
  • I didn’t touch on it in this post, but Paul also talks about living lives “overflowing with thankfulness.” I’ve been working on a song about thankfulness. The chorus goes like this:
    “It’s so easy to go through life with thanks unsaid,
    So easy to let these things go to my head:
    Thinkin’ I’m the one who’s done it all,
    Thinkin’ I’m the one who deserves it all,
    But it’s you, so I say thanks.”
    Do you find it easy to go through life with thanks unsaid? Remember to thank God today. Don’t just thank him; overflow with thanks to him. Others should see it pouring out of us. And feel free to let those thanks overflow into the comments below. We’d love to hear what you are thanking God for today.
  • Any gardeners or builders out there? I’d love to hear your insights about roots and foundations.

One comment

  1. I loved your use of tumbleweeds to talk about being rooted. It makes itveasy to see that there can be substance, yet no life. Thanks for the image.

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