Just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him. . . .
When I professed my faith in Christ and committed my life to him nearly three decades ago, I used this passage as I talked about what Christ’s love meant to me personally. Though Paul doesn’t refer specifically to trees as he writes to the Colossians, he does borrow the image of being rooted in Christ—and that leads to living a life that is built up, strong, and overflowing with the fruit of gratitude.
The word for “rooted” in this verse is the Greek word rhizoo, and this is the root word for our English word “rhizome”—a continuously growing horizontal underground stem that sends up shoots to grow above ground. But the verb in Greek is written in a passive tense, which means that rather than putting the emphasis on the believer to be rooted, the emphasis is on how we are being rooted by Christ and in him because of his work in us. When we receive Christ, he will render us firm, fixed, and established. And he will cause us to be thoroughly grounded in him.
It changes everything to know that Christ will do this in us and for us as we trust in him. We’re invited to continue to receive him and to allow his work in us to continually build us up. This is the mutual and deeply personal communion that we enjoy with Christ: we abide in him, and he abides in us.
Thank you, Lord, for giving us your love, for inviting us to dwell in you and to receive your love so that we may be rooted and built up in you, strengthened in faith and overflowing with thankfulness. Amen.
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