Updated: Nov 17, 2019
Want to learn 7 ways to get firmly grounded and growing in the Lord, Jesus Christ?
If you haven’t yet laid hands on your Bible, do that now, as we are going to be in the epistles of Paul today. Specifically, our lesson is found in his letters to the church at Ephesus and Colossae.
So what does it mean to be rooted spiritually? Over the past few episodes we have basically dumped out all of the puzzle pieces on the table, flipped the pieces upright so that we can see them all and we have found the edge pieces and built the framework for this big picture that we are trying to put together. We are going to spend the rest of our time in this study filling in the internal, applicable parts of this series so that we can see clearly what God wants to reveal to us for our lives in the way of being rooted in Christ. The Bible introduces two theme texts that we will hear throughout the rest of this series and they both come from the apostle Paul in Colossians 2:7 and Ephesians 3:17, but we need to keep them in their proper contexts.
First, Paul says in Ephesians 3:8-21, “To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him. Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory. For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” What a powerful passage with so many wonderful lessons in it.
When I reflect on all that we have covered up to this point in our study, I do not feel like I could have fully comprehended what Paul expresses here, unless I first understood the overall plan of God that begins in the Old Testament and if fulfilled in the New Testament. Now that we are working off of the framework or foundation we have laid, this text can be fully realized and applied to our lives. We will study that in depth later, but for now let’s look at the other Pauline text that references being rooted in Christ, and see if what we have learned up to this point also helps with this passage of Scripture.
In Colossians 2:1-7, we read, “For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face, that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument. For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ." Then he adds the following,
Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.”
Now imagine melding these two texts together and drawing out the life application points that Paul states are enjoyed by everyone in Christ. This is where we get our 7 ways of being firmly grounded and growing in the Lord and His love. So the themes that exist in both passages are:
1. EMBOLDEN OUR PROCLAMATION OF THE GOSPEL: We need to be boldly rooted in preaching the unfathomable riches in Christ by bringing to light the mystery of the gospel, and making known the manifold wisdom of God to all mankind, as His church (Ephesians 3:8-10).
We need to get back to the good work of sharing the gospel with the world around us. How can they believe if they have not heard? How can they hear without a preacher? We have been sent! This takes us back to the mission as a church and individually as disciples. We serve Jesus by sharing Jesus. As the church we need to make it our aim to see more souls come to Jesus and be added by the Lord to His church. If this is not our purpose, then we have no purpose. We have lost our vision. In order to be able to adequately share the gospel, we need to take the time to become acquainted with the incomprehensible value of knowing Christ. Is the gospel story still a mystery to you? When we read the word of God, we are supposed to gain insight into the unfolding of the mystery (Eph. 3:5). You are going to have to devote time to grasping the message and sharing the wisdom that you gain with others. The seed is the word of God (Luke 8:11) and if a farmer never plants any seed, he cannot expect a harvest (you reap what you sow). Let’s get out there and boldly proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.
2. SURRENDER OUR STEPS TO DIVINE LEADERSHIP: Paul said in Ephesians 3:16-17 that we need to be rooted in being moved by the power of the Holy Spirit in the inner most part of our being as we openly give Christ the dwelling place of our hearts through faith and become deeply grounded in love for the Lord and others.
It is critical that we are in step with the Spirit of God letting him lead and guide us. It is not enough to acknowledge that He has a work in us, but we need to be humble enough to be led and follow Him each day. We cannot be halfhearted and be partial with our devotion and love sharing them both with the world and the Lord. He wants our total commitment. You cannot serve God and riches (or you fill in the blank). The key is love, i.e. love for the Lord, love for others and being deeply rooted in that love each and every day. These are the two greatest commands that God calls us to obey under the new covenant with a promise of salvation and everlasting life. The Holy Spirit has to be instrumental in the type of change that is required for your life to develop the fruit of the Spirit which includes, first love, then joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. You will know them by their fruit, said our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
3. STRENGTHEN OUR BOND THROUGH FELLOWSHIP: In Colossians 2:2, Paul tells us how our hearts may be encouraged. We need to be rooted in deepening our fellowship as we make it stronger in Him by having our hearts knit together and becoming one in Christ Jesus.
To illustrate this, consider that the oldest tree (one is estimated to be 3,300 years of age!) and the fastest growing, tallest, and heaviest trees in the world are the giant sequoias. But the most surprising thing about the greatest of all trees is the fact that sequoias have a relatively small and shallow root system. According to the Department of California State Parks, "Most of the giant sequoia's root system is made up of tiny, threadlike feeders that spread out from the larger ROOTS near the base of the tree . . . and is likely to be within four or five feet of the soil surface. This is an astonishingly delicate foundation for an above the ground structure that may tower upward two hundred fifty to three hundred feet (twenty to twenty-five stories) and weigh as much as a small ocean going freighter. How can such a delicate, though sprawling, root system hold such a massive tree upright? According to ParkVision, "One way in which the trees are able to remain upright for millennia is by growing close together with other trees, intermingling root systems."
Some say, “You don’t have to come to church”, but you should want to be here. The church is your spiritual family and we have a primary focus to make certain that we all get to heaven. Edification can be shared with one another as we assemble together as brethren in the Lord. There is no other bond like being together with our brothers and sisters in Christ because we have been purchased with the blood of Jesus. Spiritually speaking, his royal blood now flows in our veins and we are children of the King. Praise God! Our meetings are a family reunion. We have God as our Father and Christ as our brother. We are heirs of eternal life and we share in the same inheritance. We strengthen the bond that we have in Christ every time we are together in His service. Whether on a Sunday, or a midweek gathering that we can attend, each of these opportunities offer great blessings to strengthen our relationship in the Lord. We need to be unified in Christ Jesus as well, and stand together. There is no place for division and strife among our family. We are to be of one mind and one heart. Just as God and Christ are one, we are one in Christ Jesus our Lord (John 17:20-21).
4. ENRICHING OUR LOVE FOR THE LORD THROUGH HIS LOVE FOR US: In Eph. 3:18-19 Paul says we need to be rooted in comprehending the immeasurable nature of the love of Christ and being filled with the fullness of God.
We need to be in awe at how much the Lord loves us. It cannot be measured but it can be appreciated. We love Him because He first loved us. The only way to know the love of the Lord is to spend time with Him in prayer, in a study of His word, meditation, fasting, worship and seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Our love for the Lord is evident in our practice of these things. We need to be full of God and not just give him a part of who we are. This is true intimacy with God. Developing a strong relationship with Him. You can’t be full of God and still have room for the momentary pleasures of this life. We need to empty ourselves of worldliness and let godliness reign supreme in all that we say and do. This requires undivided attention and fidelity to our first love.
5. INCREASING OUR FAITH THROUGH SEEKING THE WILL OF GOD: In Colossians 2:3-5 we are told to be rooted in gaining the treasures of the wisdom and knowledge available in Christ and maintaining steady discipline while we create stability, being built up and established in the faith.
Begin treasuring the wisdom and knowledge available in Christ. Seek it out and find it! If you lack wisdom, ask of God and He will give wisdom to you liberally (James 1:5). This requires us to develop personal discipline to maintain stability in our walk with the Lord each and every day. Faith comes by hearing the word of the Lord (Rom. 10:17). Let us seek out ways that we can be built up and established in the faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6) We need a faith that will not shrink. We cannot be those that are not equipped with the ability to tell another soul the reason for the hope in us. We also cannot be those are tossed here and there by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine (Eph. 4:14). Faithfulness requires that we are full of faith. We need to be the people of God that see the value of growing in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (II Pet. 3:17-18).
6. FULFILLING OUR ETERNAL PURPOSE WITH REVERENCE: In Ephesians 3:11-13, Paul admonishes us to be rooted in understanding the eternal purpose of God in Christ, while we will have boldness and confidence through faith in Christ, as His church, continuing our daily walk with Him as Lord of our life.
Understanding the eternal plan of God in Christ and your place in it will give you boldness and confidence. When we question our own standing with God because of a lack of faith and do not live courageously before Him, we will fail in our efforts to stand up for Jesus and will become easily shaken and moved away from our mission. By increasing your faith in Christ as a part of His church you can ensure that you will remain faithful to His calling in your life. With a healthy fear of the Lord you can show respect to His name but also have the boldness to come to the throne of grace before our Great High Priest, to find help in a time of need (Heb. 5:14-16).
7. OVERFLOWING OUR FERVENT HEARTS WITH GRATITUDE: Paul says in Ephesians 3:20 and Colossians 2:7 that we need to be rooted in thankfulness because the Lord can and will give us more than we ask or think. We live to demonstrate our appreciation for the rich blessings we have received in Christ and offer to God our lives by serving Him faithfully.
We need to develop greater levels of thankfulness to God. We should give thanks in everything! (I Thess. 5:18). Our prayers should not be filled with just our requests of God, but should also consist primarily of the many thanksgivings that show our gratefulness for the outpouring of blessings that we receive from being a child of God.
Our praise reports should outweigh our prayer requests when we come before God. For all the issues we are facing in life, think about all of the blessings you receive each day. Our appreciation for what the Lord has done will be seen in our daily heartfelt service to Him.
To recap, this is how we get firmly grounded and growing in the Lord…
1.EMBOLDEN OUR PROCLAMATION OF THE GOSPEL, THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT JESUS
2. SURRENDER OUR STEPS TO DIVINE LEADERSHIP
3. STRENGTHEN OUR BOND IN FELLOWSHIP WITH THE LORD AND OTHER BELIEVERS
4. ENRICH OUR LOVE FOR THE LORD THROUGH HIS LOVE FOR US
5. INCREASE OUR FAITH BY SEEKING THE WILL OF GOD IN EVERYTHING
6. FULFILLING OUR ETERNAL PURPOSE IN CHRIST AS LORD OF OUR LIVES
7. OVERFLOW OUR FERVENT HEARTS WITH GRATITUDE (THANKSGIVING)
These guidelines should help us to be rooted in the Lord and His love.