"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." Col. 2:6-10
In this one sentence, written by Paul the Apostle, we have a picture of the three levels of maturity in a believer. The three levels can be symbolized by a tree.
In my previous post I elaborated upon the root system, that first level of maturity that is the foundation upon which the trunk, branches and fruit grow and come forth. Grace is the nutritional root system below ground that emerges as a glorious healthy tree above ground.
The second level of maturity is being built up in Christ. To be built up is to grow up. It is a necessary process of believing on Christ unto the fullness of who He is in us. Being built up does not determine your eternal life, but it does determine your abundant life. In keeping with the symbolism of a tree, I think of the aspen trees of Colorado. They are oh-so-beautiful but few people understand the process and perseverance they represent to become gloriously gold and fruitful for all to see. As they grow, high winds buffet them in the winter, drought challenges them in the summer, fire roars through the forest community, heavy rains attempt to drown them out, disease tries to invade beyond their protective bark to kill them, and forest animals nibble away at the tender shoots and soft bark unknowingly making them vulnerable to all of the above. But…the aspen tree survives as it resists all that is thrown at it. It thrives as it continually draws from the deep root system for nourishment and strength. It grows as it resists by refusing to be destroyed. Its genetic code says "I will live and not die. I will overcome every challenge to bring forth the beauty and fullness of my identity. I will grow." And so it does grow, bringing forth beauty in the glorious golden leaves covering the mountain sides, a beauty beheld by millions of people bringing joy and refreshment to their hearts.
This picture of the aspen tree reflects the growing process of the believer, a process no one can avoid unless they refuse the spiritual food of grace or give in to the challenges around them. To mature brings stability. To mature brings beauty. To mature brings glory in the church. It is so as we embrace the process of being ‘built up’ in Christ, strengthened and overflowing with thankfulness to the One who planted the seed within us. 2 Cor. 3:18 says we are being transformed into ‘His likeness with ever increasing glory’. My prayer for you is to be built up in Christ with ever increasing glory.