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 what you have been taught.
– Colossians 2:7 (NLT)
Around 2 years ago I was given the chance to do the first two books of the Navigator’s 2:7 study. I had done other studies in the past, but this one did something for me that no other study ever had. It taught me how to get into the Word of God, study it, and apply it in my life. I’ve been taught how to do that over and over as I have grown up in church, but never in this way. If you have a chance to take this study at some point in your life I highly recommend it.
The last three or four years of my life have seen some big changes in how I look at reading God’s Word, and I would like to say that I am giving it the time that it deserves every day, but that would be a lie. At least I can now say that I want to read it every day, and the days that I do not get a chance, I feel it. Not in a good way, but I feel it. I’m sure I am not the only one to ever feel this way.
I have been moving slowly through the book of Colossians lately, and I am doing it this time in the New Living Translation Bible. I am finding that it is helping me see things that I have seen before with a slightly different angle. I have been able to read verses that I know and have memorized, but with a different wording I think about them differently. It draws my eye and then it draws my heart. I really believe God is using this, and I just want to share it.
I hit Colossians 2:7 the other day, and as I read it I was struck by how familiar the verse sounded to me, and the truth that was in it was so good! When I looked at the reference it clicked, but I was seeing it all over again for the first time. This verse that describes so well the transforming work of the Word of God in a believer’s life resonates even more now than it did before. Not because I have arrived, but because after a couple of years, I can see growth! Not a mighty Redwood, but at least there is more than a twig sticking up! So, here are some of the things I have pulled from God’s word over the last couple of days:
It is work, but it is a natural work – if I let it happen.
Verse 7 in the NLT starts with the word “Let”. When I read the first word I just stopped because I was hit with the power that word contains in my life. If I am to let something happen, that means I have a degree of control in whether it happens or not. I have that in my Christian walk. I decide if I am going to take the time to read God’s Word today. I decide if I am going to let what I read into my heart and become part of how I act.
“Let” also eludes that if I were to remove myself as an obstacle, then something would happen. I think this goes back to the fact that God created us for relationship with Him. We were designed for a relationship with Him where He would grow us through that relationship. He would supply our needs, give us protection, security, and nourishment. That is that God-shaped hole in all of us that is not satisfied by anything else – especially for the believer.
It is work, but not a work without reward.
As a kid I remember being given a lot of memory verses with references that had a letter at the end – usually an “a” or a “b”. The letter would determine if we were quoting the first or the second part of the verse (sometimes we even had a “c”). I asked why the verses had letters and I got answers that ranged from “I don’t know”, (at least it was honest) to “This is the importnat part of the verse” (which usually translated to this being something we had to do to make God happy). We would get the directive, but never the objective. We were simply not told that God tells us the “Why” of what he asks us to do!
Now I am careful to look at the whole picture. God tells us that He wants to bless us. It is what He does! Look around at the things you have, the people you know – you are blessed! Knowing that God wants to bless, I need to look at His commands not as a punishment or a chore, but as an opportunity to be blessed by God. He is promising a result for putting down roots into Christ and drawing Him into my life. He is promising a stronger faith, a vibrant life, a vigorous, excited spirit! How awesome is that! I get all of that for getting myself out of the way and allowing God to be at work in my life!
When the work is done, I can be thankful for it
Thankfulness is a progression. It starts with an awareness that something has been done. Something done for me that I either could not do or did not have to do. Then it must be understood that there was a cost to someone to do that thing. These are pretty logical thought processes, and while we don’t think about them, anyone can do them just by opening your eyes. You probably did not build your own car, but when you are faced with one that is broken down, you are abruptly brought face to face with the fact that someone once made it run, and you hope you can find another who can!
The next step in thankfulness is the hard part for some. We need to accept what was done for us and appreciate it as the gift it was intended to be. That requires a humility that we don’t always want to think about. Admitting that it was needed, I could not do it myself, but someone was willing to do it for me. This is where that overflowing of thankfulness gets rolling! Real world example is the help that my friend Ray has been to me with my vehicles. Things I could not do for myself, he has done for me and with me, teaching me as we go and growing a stronger realtionship along the way!
Ultimately what could I possibly have more reason to be thankful for than what God has done, is doing, and will continue to do in my life! It cost my Savior His life, and it was given to me so I could experience His love and have a relationship with His Father. Not just so I could have it, but so I could tell others about it as well! There should be a thankfulness readily apparent in my life for everything He has done.
The beauty of this verse is that it shows a natural flow of growth in Christ:
- Grow Strong
- Bear Fruit
As I struggle to live a life of purpose I want this to be something that I never forget. There needs to be a desire to continually repeat this process. As God grows me and takes me to places where my faith will struggle I will need to dig deeper into Him. As I weather it and see the lessons He was teaching me I will be thankful for all that He did and then I should start the cycle over again. I need Him more because I know Him more! That was why we were made. Our purpose is to bring God glory and He gets that every time we come face to face with our need for and obedience to Him.
So, since I know this is the key to living a life of purpose and with purpose, then it is time to take the time to do it on purpose! How about you?
Thanks for reading!
In HIS Grip,