Saturday, September 29, 2018

The Continuum PART 2


Colossians 2:6-7
So then, just as you 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.
In verse 6 

 I have been reflecting on this verse over the last few days. In the first part  I reflected on verse 6 and how we stay rooted in Christ. Paul is urging us to continue in certain things as we live out our Christian life and calling.

He is very clear in his communications. He isn’t just saying “Be a good Christian, “ Or “ Oh you have been saved, now enjoy life. It is all grace brother! Do not bother about anything. Jesus has done it all. Jesus loves you” etc etc.
He reminds his readers of the great sacrifice that Jesus paid for us all. He reminds us that is a complete work; Satan's defeated.

We are set free from the tyranny of the myriad laws that encumbered the poor Jewish soul.
Now that we are free – we are free for a purpose. This is specific for each one of us.
We are to continue in many things. However, this “continue” is not static. It’s not about maintaining the status quo. It is about sustaining growth. It’s progressive: from one degree of glory to another.  In scripture, we are encouraged to “build ourselves up in the holiest faith”.

I move my reflections on to the next part of verse 7, which asks us to be “built up”
Why do we need to do this? How do we do this and what is involved? Reflect with me.
In our journey as Christ followers, our aim is to become more and more like Jesus, to be Holy even as He is Holy. To fulfill the good works he has prepared for us to do. This is the reason we are saved. To be a light to all.

We are built up as we stay rooted – as we continue to grow deeper in our fellowship with him.
We get built up by meditating on His Word and allowing it to grow richly in our lives, allowing the word to challenge and change us. The phrase built up implies growth. As Christians we are on a continuum of growth – the overall movement in our lives ought to be forward.

What do I do, to be built up, to grow, to be encouraged, and to be focused?
 So what do I continue in? Here are some things:
Continue to be a learner – seeking the kingdom to influence my lifestyle and decisions.
Continue to add to my “faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.”  (2Pet 1:5-7)
Continue to persevere in the face of trialsbecause you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And tastings so my faith grows strong.” (James 1:3)
Continue to dig deep into God’s word in sweet fellowship and prayer (Col 3:16)
Continue to do good, and not grow weary of it (Gal 6:9)
Continue to meet with other Christ followers to encourage and be encouraged. Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing.( Heb 10:25)
Continue to build on Christ the Cornerstone. (1Cor 3:11)

When I do this, I will grow strong, mature and be productive bearing the good fruits of the faith.
 Are there things that you need to continue in that you have stopped doing? Now is a good time to hit the reset button and restart.

Paul knew that there would be times we would slacken off or give up. That is why there are so many verses encouraging us to keep going, to fight the good fight of faith, to press on, to keep at it. Let us encourage each other and our other brothers and sisters to keep going.  We are yet to come into our best. Let us continue to the finish line and finish strong.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

The Continuum


Colossians 2:6-7
So then, just as you 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.

This is the verse I am reflecting on today and want to mull over it bit by bit because I think there is a lot in this small but very rich instruction  Paul is giving us Christ followers.

V6 a- So Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord -  Paul was encouraging the Colosse Christians to hold on to truth and not be swayed by many fine sounding arguments ( verse4) or even a false gospel that was already making the rounds. (verse 8).

How did we receive Jesus?
He wants them to hold fast to what they were taught by the apostles. They received it from men of creditability and received it by faith.
I pause to think about this. We have no lack choice today as to who we would like to listen to, which church sermons we want to watch. Sometimes we can be sucked into subtle false teachings without even realizing it.

We need to know whom we are learning from: what is their track -record, what is their life like, and what are their core doctrines. It is not easy to test this in the cyber world.

The other thing that Paul is reminding them is about how they received Christ. How did we receive our salvation? We received it by grace through faith. Nothing more, nothing less. The Cross of Christ is complete and covers everything for me. I cannot earn it, I don’t deserve it. I appropriate it by faith alone and in humility accept this grace gift in my life.
Let no one add to that or take away from this great work of our wonderful God.

The deity of Jesus was coming into question no sooner did he resurrect from the dead and ascend into heaven. This truth is still being challenged and toyed with today. Let us remind ourselves of the glorious savior who did a finished work making a public spectacle of Satan and all his schemes when he triumphed over him on the Cross. (verse 15). The devil thought sending Jesus was the greatest trick and his ace card. What he and not know was that he played into the very plan of God that sealed his fate forever.

Let us remind ourselves that the life we now live is not to be lived by a set of rules. We live this life because we have a relationship that is sustained by deep communion and staying firmly rooted in Jesus ( verse 22-23)

V6b - continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him,.

In my 4+ decades of being a Christ follower, one thing I have seen and now with an ever increasing measure, sadly, is that people often start well but do not continue with increasing fervor. Some tragically lose their way floundering amidst the cares and worries of this world.

So the encouragement to ‘continue ‘is not without cause. To Continue is an important motif in the New Testament and should be in our lives too. This is said in many different ways in the Bible. Here are some : persevere in the faith, fight the good fight of faith, press on toward the goal, run the race with perseverance, run the race marked out for us, he who preservers will be given the crown of life, do not grow weary in doing good and many, many more such exhortations.

This is not a call to continue to exist. There is a manner in which I am to continue. Paul goes on to tell us how.

As I reflected on the word ROOTED, I thought it is good to pause and ask some questions. Is, my life built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness? I have salvation here and here alone. He is my Rock and the source of my life. He is my cornerstone. This means I am not relying on my strength, independence etc.

 Why are roots important?
It is the life source to the whole plant. Whatever soil the roots of my heart are planted in, will nourish me and determine how healthy the plant will be and what kind of fruit I will produce.

So where do I get my values from? What is influencing my life and my character formation? Is the soil that of the world or is it Christ? What my mind feeds on will affect thought patterns, my emotions, and my behavior.

What soil my roots are in will affect what is” built up”. I can wipe and clean and polish the leaves all I want but if the roots are rotting or have poor nutrition or are in a toxic environment, the rot is going to show and destroy the plant as well. The plant will grow, but not as a healthy one.

So what do I learn from this morning’s reflections? No matter how old or young a Christ follower I am, I need to continue to be rooted in Christ which is the richest and best place to have my life planted in. John 15 is replete with repeated reminders to remain in Jesus so that we will bear fruit that will last.
I pray and you and I will continue on this continuum of life with steadfastness growing from strength to strength being built up in Christ. 

How are we built up? More in the next blog. Click here for Part 2 

Navaz DCruz