So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Jesus is a person we encounter. He is constantly inviting people to come and follow him, check him out. Hang around for a while. But eventually there is a moment when a decision must be made--to hand over ownership of our lives totally to him or walk away. The price tag is total surrender. His Lordship is a permission we give him that he will not violate. It is also a blessing we receive. In this one verse we see a progression that unfolds from that one decision. You receive Jesus. Live in Him. Rooted. Built up. Strengthened. Overflowing with thankfulness.
When we live in him we will put our roots down in him. The seedling grows by sucking the nourishment and life out of the soil that it inhabits. So we must learn to suck our nourishment out of the soil of God’s word and His presence, instead of the soil of worldly fascinations or human ambitions.
Living in Jesus is a new beginning. He chops down the old tree, the tree of self-sufficiency that grew every kind of wild fruit. Romans says we were buried with him in baptism. The prophet John declared that the Messiah would lay the axe at the root of every tree that doesn’t bear good fruit. Likewise Jesus himself taught that God will cut off every branch that doesn’t bear fruit. Dead roots, dead branches and dead trees will all be destroyed.
After we are replanted and entrenched in the person of Jesus, then we begin to grow up from seedling to a fruit-bearing tree. The teachings and authority of Jesus begin to grow strong in us. And into a strong, tall tree of sound character. Not only are we tall, we are strong because of the soundness in our bones. Our inward life is as healthy as our outward life is big. The winds of hardship and trials cannot blow us over. The pressures of leadership, or the blight of discouragement do not wither us. We are steadfast through the cold of winter and the heat of summer.
Finally, the healthy tree is a reproducing tree. The healthy tree overflows with healthy rich fruit that tastes great to the people around. Thanksgiving is such a fruit. It drops off our tongues, and hangs from our hands. If you need thanksgiving in your life, spend more time sending roots into the soil of your savior. He will surely produce the life and fruit that tastes sweet to our heavenly Father and will spare you from the terrible chopping that comes at the end of the growing season.