“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”
In the tree world, the most vulnerable time in the life of a tree happens from the breaking of the seed-coat and the emergence of a new shoot. A thousand enemies threaten a new tree – hungry animals, plows, foot-traffic, drought, flood, herbicides, etc. Trees that God has genetically programmed to live a long time spend most of their energy doing one very important thing – GROWING ROOTS. The reasons, of course, are obvious; grow a foundation first, and then the top may grow as large as it wants. A mature tree doesn’t worry about hungry animals, plows, foot traffic, drought… it is secure and the secret to its security is hidden underground in a vast root system.
The Christian life works in exactly the same way. Baby Christians start off vulnerable and in need of protection. But as believers root into their unseen relationship in Christ by personal study of His Word and, praying “in secret” (Matthew 6), then the “roots” of the believer are established and founded into something that is TOTALLY SECURE AND UNCHANGING. Other people don’t necessarily “see” these things take place – it happens below the surface, away from the praise or scrutiny of men.
BUT unstable and weak Christians tend to grow the wrong things first, which is to say, they focus on their outward actions before men. No wonder Jesus criticized the religious hypocrites of His day by saying, “How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God” (John 5:44)? If a Christian’s most significant worship time is in public, if his most intense study time is at church, and if most of his praying is done before men, how much of his soul is being “rooted” in the unseen ground of God?
What danger do you think a Christian will find himself in, if most of his “growth” is happening before the eyes of others, but little or no growth is happening “one-on-one” with God?
Consider an apple tree as an example, what is the “wisest” way to develop a LONG-TERM apple crop as it relates to the development of the tree? How does this analogy translate into the LONG-TERM spiritual fruitfulness God wants for us?
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.