Let Your Roots Grow
When I was a kid I remember my dad getting a blender for Christmas and thus starting the normal happening of my Dad making milkshakes for my brothers and I. I love shakes but in my opinion its pretty simply...normal cows milk, ice cream, and chocolate syrup. My Dad however liked to experiment with things such as buttermilk, baking coco, eggs, yogurt, and many other random things. You see he took a basic recipe that did not need anything else and ruined it by adding things to it. When Paul wrote his letter to the Colossians he is urging them in a similar way to not ruin the foundation they have in Christ by adding to it the pagan teachings or the Jewish laws about food and such as a means to salvation. They needed to keep it simple, all they needed was Jesus.
In the second chapter of Colossians Paul really wants to stress the idea of putting down roots that grow deeply in relationship with Christ. In Colossians 2:6-8 Paul wrote, " 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. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ." In the Gospel of Mark Jesus tells a parable about seeds and roots, you can find it in Mark 4:1-20. Its a really interesting read, but in it he describe the importance of the foundation (or soil) and the roots growing deep as important for a seed to grow and produce fruit. You see roots keep us grounded, roots provide support and stability during difficult seasons,and roots help us produce fruits. Without good roots you get no good fruits. We often hope to experience blessings and fruit in our life like we find listed in Galatians 5:22-23, often referred to as the "fruit of the spirit", without doing the difficult work of being rooted in Christ and connected to others but we can't expect that, we must choose to root ourselves in Christ.
In Colossians 2:13-15 Paul shares the beauty of Christs sacrifice on the cross, "When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross." The good news Paul is trying to share is that Christ on the cross cancelled your ____________. The blank is sin but you can put whatever you want there....shame, lust, greed, selfishness, false identity, idols, or anything else you try to put in the place of Jesus.
In Colossians 2:20, Paul says something that hits me really hard with some truth I need to hear, "You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world." Again one of the reasons Paul wrote to the Colossians is to urge them to not add things to the gospel and to not return to sinful ways the world has enslaved them. So I say this to you my friends, stop returning to the things that enslave you, instead turn to Jesus, the one who frees you. Jesus is all you need. He is more than enough. And He deeply loves you.
One final thoughts on roots....the redwood trees of California are infamous, some standing over 350 feet tall we would assume that they have deep roots that go to the center of the earth, but they don't. They are actually only 6-12 feet deep. But they make up for it in width, sometimes extending up to 100 feet from the trunk. The interesting thing about the redwood tree is that their root system is intertwined with the other redwood trees, literally holding each other up. The trees grow very close together and are dependent on each other for nutrients, as well. Only redwoods have the strength and ability to support other redwoods. The lesson here....the church was created to be like redwoods, we have roots as individuals and we root ourselves in Jesus but we also become connected to each other. We weather storms together, feed each other, and grow together.
So lets be rooted in Jesus and growing together as a church like redwood trees. Make time this week to both spend time in your journal, Scripture, and prayer so you can be rooted in Christ. And look for opportunities to love your neighbor and support them.