“So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you, being rooted and grounded in love.” (Ephesians 3:17)
The wheels of the new year recently rolled into view carrying a camouflaged cart of yesterday’s woes. Weren’t we suppose to leave those in last year’s almanac? It appears that droopy and dragging still top the list of words for the year as newscasts and forecasts relay daunting reminders that life’s rhythms are perpetually out of sync.
Hit pause, be still, think again.
What do we know to be unchanging and unswerving as if it were an embedded boulder we could take refuge behind? The stack of letters the Lord created for us to read, that huge accumulation of promises and poetry with its ancient stories and compelling themes. That’s where we must settle to move forward.
Here’s a good place to start: “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk 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). “Christ Jesus the Lord” is clearly more than a title – it’s his very essence. Little else needs to be said. If I recognize that he is Lord over my little world, then all its complicated scenarios ultimately fall under his authority. The confusing details or troubling thoughts are subject to him. Christ Jesus the Lord commands the necessary power to orchestrate the pieces that undoubtedly make little sense to me.
Receiving Christ Jesus is a clear picture of my humble position before him. I am a beggar on bended knee desperately lifting empty, outstretched hands toward him. As Lord, he benevolently gives. I bring nothing into this relationship; he provides everything. Christ’s position of authority ensures he will ever be the gracious provider.
I am to continue on this course by simply walking in him – one step before the other, and then another after that. His challenge is for me to keep walking with him the way I began our relationship – by receiving what he has for me, by believing that he is good, by surrendering my will to his own.
Being “rooted” in him portrays progressing through soil, digging down, grasping and clutching and taking in nutrients. Roots hold plants secure, anchor trees to the ground, combat and withstand sudden storms. Like passageways to life, roots suck in life-giving elements, draw in life-sustaining water. To survive, I must follow suit to experience true life with Christ.
“Built up in him” involves effort, an understanding that none of this will happen on its own. I must be an attentive part of the process. In the way a working construction site resounds with mess, noise, and activity, I must not expect the course to be easy. A worthwhile pursuit for sure, just not one void of struggle.
To guide me forward, to keep me grounded, rooted and built up, one last clue hangs on the end of our verse: “abounding in thanksgiving.” A vital part of walking with the Lord involves being thankful – even for what I don’t have or for what I don’t want. Much of the time, this posture might not make sense. But the call couldn’t be clearer. As I am pursuing Christ, becoming rooted, built up, and making my way forward with him, he commands me to overflow with thanksgiving for it all.
And since he is Christ Jesus the Lord, I will choose to believe he knows exactly what’s best.
Elizabeth A Mitchell