Thursday, December 30, 2010

Firmly rooted for the coming year

Back on December 5, 2001, God said something to me that changed my life. It was about 5pm and I was sitting alone at my desk at home staring at a blank computer screen. I had been feeling very low for many weeks and all I could muster as a throwaway prayer was, "God, what's going on?" But as soon as I uttered those words, a thought flew into my mind: "It's not what I do for Christ, but who I am in Christ that matters." In other words, all the perceived failures that were leaving me so utterly depressed had absolutely no impact on God's view of me. Whatever I did or didn't do just didn't matter. It was only because I was in Christ that God loved me unconditionally as His son. At the very moment that God put that thought in my mind, everything changed. The heaviness lifted. The darkness passed. The depression evaporated. I was free. Free of a performance-mentality before a God who fully accepted me as His dearly beloved son.

That was nearly ten years ago. And for many years after that God-encounter I walked in the good of that revelation. But for the past year or so, I feel as though I've lost sight of the simplicity of that truth: "It's not what I do for Christ, but who I am in Christ that matters." And as I approach 2011 and the ten-year mark of that precious moment when God's Spirit dropped that gem in my mind, I want to fully recover the priceless value of it in my everyday walk with God.

Back in 2001, there was a key passage that God spoke to me through to confirm how rock solid the truth of His love really is. Colossians 2:6-7 says, "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." I've chosen the NASB here because of how it translates one particular phrase: "having been firmly rooted." That is how we as Christians are to see ourselves, and that was how God wanted me to begin seeing myself when He spoke to me that afternoon.

The NIV doesn't quite capture Paul's emphasis here and the New Living Translation misses it completely, referring to the idea of letting your roots go down into Christ as if they weren't already. But what Paul is meaning here is that we already have been fully rooted in Christ! When Paul wrote about being "rooted" he used a perfect passive tense, which points to an action completed in the past that has ever-continuing effects! Thomas Trevethan (who wrote Our Joyful Confidence: The Lordship of Jesus in Colossians (if you can find this out-of-print book used, buy it and read it -- it's amazing!)) writes that the full sense of this perfect passive participle is "once-and-for-all settled in a fixed spot not to be uprooted." In other words, nothing can shake us loose from being fully in Christ, fully accepted by God!

If we can live our lives fully convinced of that truth, nothing will be able to discourage us, because nothing can shake us loose from His hand of love. So in 2011, instead of focusing on me (and my blunders and my expectations and my disappointments), I want to make Christ and who I am in Christ my focus so that I can live in the joyful confidence that being in Christ is meant to provide every day!

© 2010 by Ken Peters


Paul Martens said...

Ken, I really appreciated this post. I recall a few summers ago at our old house when I was trying to uproot some roots from a hedge to clear some room on our lawn. It was hard, tiresome work that eventually paid off. I was able to get rid of the majority of the roots in the end. However, your post is so encouraging because it tells me that no matter what life throws at us we can have complete confidence that we HAVE BEEN ROOTED with Christ and nothing can change that! Thanks for the encouraging post!

Ken said...

Hey Paul, thanks for that encouraging feedback. It's always good when what one person is trying to sort through can be an encouragement to another.

Laurence said...

Your blog today has reminded me of a sermon I once heard read that was originally preached by C. H. Spurgeon,

Life and Walk of Faith

Delivered on Sunday Morning, December 7th, 1862, by

Ken said...

Well, I'm pleased to be in such good company! Thanks for the link Laurence. I'll try to check it out.

Laurence said...

What I like about your blog, Ken, is that it is an honest sharing of where you're at, and your real life struggles. All of our lives are so real, and none are problem free. It makes the victory in Christ so much more emphatic to realize our own finite grasp of the solution.

What you've mentioned here, even though 10 years back. Obedience is an easy yoke, because the expectation is to please God. And your desire to please him is readily apparent in what you write. Glad to have you with me in 2010, and hope to see more of your heart in 2011!

Ken said...

Thanks Laurence! Those are encouraging words.