6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. 8 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.
We received Christ Jesus as Lord through faith. Paul admonishes us to “continue to live…in Him.” Rooted. Built up. Strengthened in the faith as we were taught and “overflowing with thankfulness.”
When I was studying trombone, I learned the importance of fundamentals, which provided a solid foundation for good playing. As my skill set grew, I had to continually check to make certain the fundamentals never wavered. If something was amiss in my playing it could always be traced back to the foundation. The same is true in athletics, the arts, business, and all other disciplines. To be successful you must master and then remain true to the fundamentals.
As Christians, we start by faith that results in a personal relationship with the Savior. Then we work on the fundamentals; guided by the indwelling Spirit, taught by trusted teachers and ministers in the faith, and strengthened through Bible study and prayer.
When I was in college, I was required to take a basic Bible course in which the greatest of all books was studied as literature. I became enthralled with a study that enabled me to see the Bible in a new way. Then something happened that frightened me. I was no longer reading the holy scriptures as God’s word, but as the writings of ancient men who sought to make sense of the troubled times in which they lived. It had become just another book.
One morning during my quiet time, I fell to my knees and asked the Lord to revive the power of His word in my heart. I had to get back to the fundamentals. My walk with God depended on it.
Don’t get me wrong. A scholarly view of the faith is important, but we should never allow it to steer us away from our intimate relationship with Christ.
In this world there are many voices, with countless opinions and philosophies, and if our fundamentals are amiss, our faith will sway off course. There is only one voice that will never steer us wrong, which is why it is so important to nurture that close personal one on one relationship with the Lord.
The old King James Bible referenced God speaking in a “still small voice.” (1 Kings 19:12) The NIV translates His voice as a “gentle whisper.” It has never been my experience that God screams orders, but He speaks softly and calmly. Most often, it is through the reading or recalling of His word. Sometimes, a new thought enters my mind; a changed perspective that opens my eyes to new possibilities, or a solution to a complex problem.
In verse 8 of our focus text, Paul warns: “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.” Keep the main thing, the main thing. There are well-meaning voices that will vie for your attention, and those whose mission is to sway you from your walk with God. Stay centered, grounded, and unshakeable.
There’s an old expression that comes to mind. “Go with what brung you.” Faith in Christ and nothing less. Build upon it and not apart from it. And if you at any time feel your heart growing cold, return to your roots. Make sure your roots are showing.
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 3 (July – September)