Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed and overflowing with gratitude. Colossians 2:6-7 (NASB)
Notice the words “having been firmly rooted” and “now being built up in Him”. Both being ‘firmly rooted’ and being ‘built up’ are important but the second depends on the first. The building up of our lives depends on a proper foundation or, in the analogy of a tree, having well established roots. A plant can only grown upward to the extent that its roots grow downward and are established.
Let us pause to consider our root system. The Scriptures warn us of what happens to those who are deeply rooted in Christ. Notice what Jesus taught about this subject:
But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Mark 4:17 (NIV)
The lesson above, which was taught by Christ in the ‘Parable of the Sower’ shows us the importance of being deeply rooted in the word of our Lord.
In the Far East, there is a tree called the Chinese bamboo tree. This remarkable tree is different from most in that it doesn’t grow in the usual fashion. While most trees grow steadily over a period of years, the Chinese bamboo tree breaks convention. Like any plant, growth of the Chinese Bamboo Tree requires nurturing – water, fertile soil, sunshine. In its first year, we see no visible signs of activity. In the second year, again, no growth about the soil. The third, the fourth, still nothing. Our patience is tested and we begin to wonder if our efforts (caring, water, etc.) will ever be rewarded. Finally, in the fifth year – behold, a miracle! We experience growth. The Chinese Bamboo Tree grows eighty feet in just six weeks! Did the Chinese Bamboo Tree lie dormant for four years only to grow exponentially in the fifth? Or, was the little tree growing underground, developing a root system strong enough to support its potential for outward growth in the fifth year and beyond? The answer is, of course, clear. Had the tree not developed a strong unseen foundation, it could not have sustained its life as it grew. The same principle is true for us.
The Bible shares the benefits of being rooted though the prophet Jeremiah, who expressed one of the most beautiful analogies in the Old Testament, comparing the faith-filled person with a strong, flourishing tree:
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is the Lord. He is like a tree planted beside waters, that stretches out its roots to the stream. It fears not the heat when it comes, its leaves stay green. In the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-9 (NABRE)
So let’s stretch out our roots. When we grow deep in Christ, we can live tall.