“And 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.”
In many ways, it seems like a massive “PAUSE” Button has been pressed in our nation…our world…our lives.
Paul knew what that was like. Sitting in a prison in Rome, he wrote this message to the Believers in Colosse. . . a city, it is believed, he had never even visited. His world was a disconnected mess, and he wasted no time in writing letters of encouragement and challenge to the Christ-followers in that distant region.
Picture Paul as he writes these words. NO prison is a nice or safe place. Everything about a prison is foundationally a place of punishment and loss of personal rights. Yet, here this man who, before his personal encounter with the risen Christ had been on a mission to kill Christians, was now writing words of encouragement to them . . . to be united in heart and purpose… to live for Christ and make Him known.
Paul, once a man of privilege and position with the Romans who brutally occupied his nation, describes life as a follower of Christ like a plant growing in a garden. Sitting in a wretched prison cell, his innermost being was like a growing, thriving plant. With chains on his body, filthy surroundings, cruel treatment inside the dark, dank, dangerous prison, his heart was fully alive. He was thinking about fellow Believers who he probably had never even met.
He was concerned for their faith. He knew the dangers of the Truth of Christ getting watered-down by the world around them.
He drew a word picture for them of how their lives should look:
- Christ’s Presence surrounding them, like the earth around a seed;
- Their roots planted deeply into Him;
- Everything they need to survive are in Him, and their tender roots draw the life-water and nutrients that will help them grow into the living plant coming from that seed;
- Growing strong, well-watered, surrounded by all they need. . . all that the Gardener had intended for them to be. Whether a flower, or a vegetable, or a tree. . . their life would come from being rooted in Him.
- The plant would become one that is for the benefit of many…not for itself.
The critical start of that plant begins in the dark earth. The Gardener watches the earth and rejoices as the tiny spikes of green begin to emerge, watching the daily growth, watering, weeding, and waiting for the time when the fruit of the labor is ready to be harvested and eaten . . nutritious and beautiful to enrich the lives of others.
Paul, in his miserable prison cell, saw his fellow Followers in this way. In the Sunshine, growing, becoming life-giving food for spiritually hungry people. Coming out of the darkness . . . from “death” into life.
May we take Paul’s vision to heart, and be those who are growing, strengthening, healthy, and bearing Fruit that will feed the spiritually hungry world around us… no matter what else is going on in our harsh, challenging world.