October 12: Colossians 2

Gerald Bray

V. 6: As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

For me to live is Christ and to die is to gain more of him. This famous saying of the Apostle Paul underpins everything he teaches us about living the Christian life. The Jews had rules to live by - hundreds of them. If there was something they were unsure about, or if some aspect of their law was too difficult to put into practice, they had rabbis and lawyers to help them adapt. The whole world belonged to God, and so every part of it was under his rule; it was only a matter of finding out which part of his law was in operation in any given circumstance.

Christians did not live like that. When Christ came, he came to dwell in our hearts by faith, and it is on our hearts that he has written his law. It is no longer a set of rules that can be adjusted to suit, but a living relationship that responds to each new circumstance that arises. As Paul puts it here, we walk in him, because he gives us the strength we need to live each day as it comes.

To live in Christ is to be rooted in him. This means that we have to understand who he is, what he has done for us and how he expects us to work out the salvation he has won for us. We are often blown away by forces beyond our control, and have to confront situations for which there is no ready-made guide. It is at times like those that our roots keep us solidly grounded, so that however much we may be pushed around by the ups and downs of daily life we remain in place and can handle whatever comes along.

Being rooted in Jesus is essential, but we must also grow in him. To be a Christian is to eb born again, but once we are born, we have to develop in line with the new life that we have been given. This is why we study the Bible and seek God's will in prayer, because it is in those ways that he has promised to feed us with the nutrition that we need to become the people he wants us to be.

To be a Christian is to have the mind of Christ, and this is what Paul means when he tells us that we must be 'established in the faith' as we have been taught. We do not just go with the flow, adapting our principles to suit our own desires or circumstances. As Christians we have an understanding which transcends the limitations of our present situation and links us to eternity. It is in the light of that that we act, and we can only do so if we are clear about what those eternal values are. We are alive in Christ, and every time we breathe we should remember to be thankful that he has called us out of the darkness into his glorious light, and shine as examples in the world of his saving power and glory at work in our lives today.