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Friday, 22 September 2017

Grafted, or rooted

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:6-7 NIV)
The other day, as I was walking through the veld, I was reminded of this passage in the Bible that tells us that we ought to live lives which are rooted in Christ Jesus. When a branch is rooted in a plant, it takes on the character of that plant. It looks like, tastes like, smells like the real thing, the source of origin. This is not the same for a branch that has been grafted onto a plant.
A grafted branch takes its nourishment from the rooted plant, but it retains its own character. It is dependent on the rooted plant for sustenance and survival, but it will bear its own fruit, have its own taste, feel, aroma, and appearance. It never takes the character of the plant which it is grafted onto.
When we read Paul's words to the congregation of Colossians, we see that he clearly tells us that we should live lives that are rooted in Christ. We should build our lives to look like Christ, take on the appearance of Christ, sound like Him. This will build our faith so that we become more firm in proclaiming what we believe and Who we believe in. The natural outflow of such a life is one of thankfulness. The reason for this is that the more firmly rooted in Christ you become, the more secure you become in the knowledge of your dependency upon Him. You know the source of your life, your words, your actions, and are no longer taking credit for it yourself.
There are popular buzz words flying around society today. Words such as self-actualization, 'being the best you you can be,' etc. Neither these words, nor these concepts can be found in the Bible. The Bible teaches the contrary. It teaches that we should deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Jesus. It teaches us that we should not try to preserve our lives, but follow the example of Christ. It teaches that we should strive to be more like Christ, to take on the image of Christ. This is the direct opposite of self-actualization. This is Christ-actualization. A Christ-actualized life is one worth living.
Have we then not been created to be the best version of ourselves we can be? The answer is not a simple yes or no. Initially the answer would have to be a solid NO. No, do not be your natural self. Do not follow your natural instincts. Do not follow your natural urges. Deny yourself. You can flourish as a Christian/Believer in Christ when you are grafted on Christ. This is possible. You can even live a wonderfully good life that impresses people both inside as well as outside the church (with church referring to the global community of believers in Christ Jesus). However, this will never be the best version of you that you could ever be.
That ideal of being the best version of ourselves, can only be achieved when we are rooted in Christ. But remember, being rooted in Christ means that we take on His characteristics, resemble Him. We loose ourselves, only to find ourselves in Christ. Only when we do this, do we become the best version of ourselves that we were created to be. We find our purpose in Christ. We find our identity in Christ. We become more than we would have been outside of Christ, a better version of ourselves than we would ever be able to be outside of Christ Jesus.
Paul did not end his exhortation to the Colossians there. He carried on and it is well worth reading the whole of his letter. However, for purposes of this discussion, I will restrict myself to only one more verse.
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. (v.8)
This is the danger to our faith when we are not rooted in Christ. This is when we lend our ears out to human philosophy, cultural dictates, and humanitarianism. All of those buzz words I referred to above, sounds great on the surface. It sounds as if it is something we should strive towards achieving. It is only when we shed the illuminating light of God's word on it, that we realize that it is in contrast to the instructions and guidelines given to us in the Bible.
Do not be deceived by human philosophy and traditions. Do not be misled by elemental spiritual forces which holds forth that we all have some version of the truth. The truth does not have different versions. There is the correct version, and then there are the distortions.
I am finding it increasingly harder to use the words I believe any longer. I do, because those are really the only ones afforded to me by society's rules. However, I feel that my rootedness in Christ has transcended belief. I now know. It is not longer a matter of trusting in something I can not detect with my five senses. My relationship with our Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, has become more intimate than this.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1 NIV)
  I am not trying to sound boastful. As a matter of fact, I heard Angus Buchan say the same thing the other day on television, when He laid claim to the fact that Christ was more real to him than the animate objects in his surrounds. This is what I am talking about. I do not believe in Jesus, I know Him. I talk to Him, I walk with Him, and I hear Him when He speaks to me in an inaudible voice. I have often given testimony to this in these blogs, such as when He awoke me to go to someone who was going to commit suicide one day, with the clear instructions to do just that and with the reason given. You can read this testimony in a blog called Wake up! God needs you. More recently, I told you the story of the Five worms from God. There are many more of these testimonies which I can give. As a matter of fact, the origin of this blog is the result of a conversation I had with God.
You too can have this kind of living relationship with God. The question is control. Do you wish to live a grafted life, where you retain your own identity and characteristics and make your own choices, or are you willing to surrender everything and to become rooted in Christ? The best you you can be, can only be realized when you are rooted in Christ Jesus.

Marietjie Uys (Miekie) is a published author. You can buy my books here:
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