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.
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
These are three powerful verses, rich with instruction and significance. Notice how the idea of receiving Christ is linked together with living in Christ. So often we speak of “following” Christ, and there is nothing wrong with “following” Him, but how often do we remember that to follow Him is to be “In” Him? In relationship, in covenant, in service we follow Him. This is profound stuff!
Notice next that this powerful concept is followed immediately by being “rooted and built up” in Him, which seems that we must have no other foundation but Christ. Then Paul says we are to be strengthened in the faith “as you were taught,” which would mean that our faith in Christ is what will give us strength, even though we are weak. Finally, we are to be filled with thanksgiving, for what other condition can we be in if we are in Christ as Paul has described it?
Now we come to verse 8, and to me, this is the verse that holds the key to how we are to accomplish living “in Christ.” Most of us move along through our daily lives desiring to live “in Christ.” I doubt that many of us wake up in the morning asking ourselves how we can mess up in our Christian walk today, and yet we often manage to do just that as the day goes by; I know that I do sometimes. What seems to happen is that we are bombarded by all kinds of things: Ideas, comments, traditions, customs, culture… and then we are off track in our attitudes, thoughts and deeds.
This morning, I turned on the news and was treated to a discussion of the great controversy over the ethnicity of Santa Claus. News commentators were actually debating this! I should have just switched the station, but I was fascinated by the spectacle of serious journalists debating the ethnicity of a fictional character, and they were serious. I became irate, sad to admit…
It strikes me that this is an example of what Paul might be talking about in verse 8; …hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world… Yes, there are better examples, certainly more serious ones, but how easy was it for this lunacy to take my eyes right off the ball!
Anyway… I’m sure that if we are living in Christ as Paul has said, we won’t have much time for Santa Claus, or the other trendy nonsense of the day, instead we will be praising Him, thanking Him, focusing on our relationships with Him and serving Him, and as we do so, our joy this season will be made complete. You see, at the end of the post, one thing is clear above all others: If we are “in Christ” we are “in” Christ alone.