Rooted and growing
I love word pictures.
Similes and metaphors have the incredible ability to communicate broad concepts in simple images. We come across one of the most famous Biblical examples when we read about the psalmist’s desire for God:
As a deer longs for streams of water, so I long for You, God.
The imagery is so strong that I honestly think he could have stopped the psalm right there. We clearly understand the level of desire he is trying to communicate. Later on, the psalmist also uses a metaphor to demonstrate how much he relies on God:
I will say to God, my rock…
This comparison grabs our attention as well. By referring to God as “my rock”, all the associated ideas of strength, stability, and reliability are understood.
This is why we need to pay attention to any word pictures that we come across when reading Scripture. When we pause to consider what the imagery represents, we will get a fuller understanding of what the author is trying to communicate – and better understanding always leads to better application.
As Paul was encouraging the believers in Colossae to develop and mature in their relationship with God, he used two powerful metaphors. The first one equated our relationship with Jesus to our walk, which carries the idea of us traveling together with Christ. Take a look at these verses and find the second word picture. It gives us the characteristics of how our walk should go.
Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Just in case the Colossian believers were wondering what their walk in Him should look like, Paul jumps to an agricultural metaphor to explain. Clear images come to mind when he says that the path of our lives should be rooted and built up in Him. This word picture makes it easy for us to take the concept of a tree driving roots deep into the ground for both stability and nutrients and associate it with the need for us to drive our own spiritual roots deep into Christ.
From the moment life bursts forth from an acorn, we have an oak tree. It is weak and susceptible to damage from a variety of sources – weather, disease, other creatures, etc. Its only hope of protecting itself is to establish roots. Strong roots make a strong tree. Weak roots make a weak tree. As the oak tree’s roots find good soil and water, the tree can be built up and develop.
This metaphor is easily applicable to our lives. From the moment we receive Jesus, we are a Christian. But we are also weak and susceptible to damage from a variety of sources – life’s circumstances, poor teachings, other people, etc. Our only hope of protecting ourselves is to establish roots. As we are rooted and built up in Him, we can grow, develop, and be established in what we believe.
Pausing to consider this metaphor also gives us a chance to ask the question:
Am I making sure I’m rooted in Jesus? What steps am I actively taking so I can walk in Him, and walk with Him?
Think about this today. This word picture, and its implications, are worth meditating over.