Living in Christ

“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.” (Colossians 2:6-7 NIV)

When we become a Christian and take Jesus as our Lord – our Master – we are embracing a new life and a new way of living. If we accept him as our master then we must live ‘in him’. Not only do we owe him our allegiance but we allow him to control the way we live.

The picture we have is of a plant. A plant receives its nourishment from the soil in which it takes root and as a result grows to become strong. A few years ago we planted a dwarf apple tree in our back planter. Over the past two years the tree has put down roots and is now producing a small number of apples each year. As a result of it being rooted in the soil it is growing strong.

It is the same with our lives: we must be planted in Jesus and take our nourishment from him. We can then grow strong in our faith – which should cause us to overflow with thankfulness for all that he has done. When we live in Christ we have to change the way we think and guard our minds from anything that would lead us away from our master.

“I tell you this so that no-one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments…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. (Colossians 2:4, 8)

How we think determines how we live. What we input into our mind influences what we think and what we believe. As a result, we must be careful with what we allow into our mind.

Listening to others can be helpful at times but we must listen with caution. Even though what someone says may sound good it could be just that – a “fine-sounding argument” and not grounded in truth nor in Jesus.

How do we know the difference? We need to have our roots in Jesus. We need to have been nourished on God’s word, making it a part of our lives. We then have a standard that we can rely on because it is based in Jesus. We will be strengthening our mind from being taken captive by empty arguments.

We also must change the way we live. Our new life in Christ must reflect our master who is the one who saves us.

“In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.” (Colossians 2:11-12)

The distinguishing mark of the Jews was circumcision. As God’s people today, we too have a circumcision but it is not physical – “performed by human hands” – but is something Jesus does for us. It is the decision that we will live a changed life no longer ruled by our physical desires and passions. It is connected with our being immersed with Jesus and having our sins washed away. We then are raised to live a new life, having faith in the power of God to remove our sins so that we are set free to now live a new life in Jesus. How can we be certain that God does this? Because it is the same God who raised Jesus from the dead. Our forgiveness is as certain as Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.

Because we have died to the world we must now live changed lives – lives that are rooted and nourished by being in Christ (Colossians 2:20-23).

Readings for next week: Philippians 3-4; Colossians 1-4; Jude; Revelation 1-2

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