Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Discipleship of Faith – Then and Now

“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”

~Colossians 2:6-7 (NRSV).

This passage I recall seeing as the mantra for many a Christian group. It seems to summarise and introduce at the same time. There is perhaps a flow to these two verses with each concept leading to another; concluding beautifully with grace.

Jesus Christ was Their (and Is Our) Lord

For those First Century believers they had just come to the Lord — this one and only living God, and the presentation and acquisition of the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ stead.

How often do we stop to reflect for a moment; the Creator of the universe has made his home in us. Habitation has now occurred. God in us.

What leads onwards then, once we have this Presence of God from within, is the willingness to actually walk with God.

Walking With God

The Apostle Paul has called those first believers at Colosse to do what we’re also to do, now, today. By living our lives in Christ we’re walking in step with God.

In keeping with Micah 6:8 we know that walking with God realises a need for great humility. This means we’re to be so surrendered to God that we no longer take delight in controlling our lives without deeper thought of impact and consequence. A Spiritual wisdom is ushered in.

Rooted (Founded), Built Up and Established – in the Faith

The flow takes a vacation here as we find Paul describing the process of their, and now our, discipleship in Christ.

Gaining salvation is the commencement of a journey to and in faith. It is in this that we’re ‘rooted’, but it’s only when we take the offer seriously that we venture earnestly with God, allowing ourselves to be ‘built up’. Many, many new believers forego this or aren’t followed-up and so they don’t get the right grounding.

Perhaps we can see, consequently, that being ‘established’ is coming to some form of reliable maturity in the faith, and even to the commitment to ‘marrying’ ourselves to growth in the faith.

As They Were or We Are Taught

This is a concluding or explanatory concept. It alludes to the fact that to become established in the faith there has necessarily been much teaching — through our being mentored by others and through the direct inspiration of God.

As we’ve been taught, we’re to be committed to being taught.

Abounding in Thanksgiving

Any mature believer will be a thankful person at root. They cannot be any other way.

Unthankful so-called ‘mature’ believers are an anachronism of faulty discipleship.

Our growth in matters of discipleship means that a foci on thanksgiving as an ongoing thread is vital. Those teaching younger Christians in the faith, therefore, have an urgent responsibility to ensure they themselves are fundamentally thankful in just about all they do, and where this is not so they’re to be models of dutiful and prompt repentance.

We have much more to be thankful of in this life than we could ever truly present thanks for. This helps us see the light of our fullness, in the matter and state of being, in Christ.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

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