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Colossians 2:6-7

“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.”

Behind the Scenes

This week we have been taking a look at the idea of sanctification. Sanctification is the process by which believers are made holy. It is both a one-time thing as well as a progressive thing, which can be really confusing. But we are told in scripture that we are “positionally” sanctified the moment we receive Christ- cleansed and made holy by the blood of the Lamb. When God looks at us, He sees the holiness of Christ- period. But we are also told in scripture that the Holy Spirit takes up residence inside every believer to work out the precious work of “progressive” sanctification- the continual reshaping and molding of every believer into the image of Christ.  

Today’s passage is one of my favorite verses that encompasses this dichotomy in scripture. We see here that in his letter to the Christians at Colossae, Paul describes their faith and the process of their faith in a few distinct ways:

First, he says that they have been “firmly rooted” in Christ. This metaphor describes the initial sanctification process, that by the power of Christ and in the authority of His name, believers are FIRMLY rooted into Christ. I love that Paul used the word “firmly” here, as if to leave no doubt that this is a deep and substantial event. This is the point where eternally we are rooted into the family of God- holy, set apart, redeemed, justified, and atoned for.  

Second, he calls them to take the next step. He tells them they are now being “built up” and “established” in Christ. This is the progressive or continual sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit as He works out salvation in us. This process is just like a tree that has roots and is now growing and blooming or a house that has a firm foundation is now being built up, brick by brick. It doesn’t happen overnight. But it happens slowly, intentionally. It happens one important step at a time.  

And the third thing that Paul says about their new faith is that it should result in them “overflowing with gratitude.” Over and over, we see that Paul viewed gratitude as a mark of a mature believer. As we grow in our faith we naturally grow in gratitude. As we are built up and as the Holy Spirit lovingly strips away the parts of us that do not look like Christ, we gain more understanding of how truly blessed we are, and gratitude naturally overflows.

Make it Real

I’ll be 100% honest here- this process is hard. I am so thankful for the fact that I am positionally sanctified at the moment I accept Jesus as Lord. Thank goodness that I don’t have to earn my place in the family of God. Thank goodness that I don’t have to be good enough, holy enough, or perfect enough to have a firm rooting. What a gift from God!

But that gift comes with some expectations. We are not supposed to just stay like we were when we first were rooted in Christ. Like a plant that is planted, if it only ever rooted and never sprouted and was built up, we would not consider it a healthy plant and we would wonder if something was wrong or if it even truly rooted in the first place.  

Our faith in Christ, those firm roots, should naturally provide the nutrients for us to grow. We should be ever reaching for the sky, stretching our new faith to take us to new levels of sanctification. As we push through the dirt, it is hard, and we often feel resistance. It can be tempting to give up or to wonder if it is worth it in the end. Those first years of faith can sometimes be the hardest because they are the ones where you are fighting the “dirt” of the world and the pull of the life you once lived the hardest.

But as we grow, as we are built up and established, we strengthen. Like the trunk of a tree, we start out flimsy and easily tossed by the wind. But the more we grow, the stronger we get. It doesn’t mean the wind stops coming or that the rain stops falling. But instead, we are strengthened, as the Holy Spirit feeds us and nurtures us, we are more and more able to stand firm.  

And like an acorn looks nothing like the tree that it eventually becomes, we too are meant to completely change. We are meant to shed the shell of our former selves and blossom and grow with Christ. And like a tree that stretches to the sky, we too, as we stretch toward Christ, will become even more like what we were always designed to be.  

I know this has been true of my life. The more I have surrendered to the work of the Holy Spirit in me, the more I have allowed Him to strip away the old, take down the walls, and remove the masks, the more I am seeing the woman I was always created to be. And friends, let me tell you, I really like her. I like who God is making me to be. Is it easy? No. Is it always comfortable? Rarely. But it is so, so worth it.

I am learning that the more I let go and let God be my source, the more I see His reflection in my life. The more I surrender and allow the Holy Spirit to change and guide me, the more I am grateful. I can’t say that I am “overflowing” with gratitude yet. There are still some days I feel more like I am overflowing with angst than gratitude. But I am getting there. And God is working.  

It’s a process, a beautiful, mysterious, amazing process. And, if you will let Him, it’s a process that the God of the universe wants to walk out with you- hand in hand, face-to-face, lovingly. He is in love with you, and He wants you to be everything you were created to be. So, trust Him. He knows what He is doing. He is gentle and patient. He is kind and long-suffering. And friends, He is SO very worth it!

End in Prayer

God of creation,

Create in me a clean heart. Do a work in my life. Root out anything that doesn’t belong and make me more like You. Thank You for being loving. Thank You for being willing. Thank You for being careful and kind. I trust You and I surrender to You.  

In the name of Jesus Christ,


Written by

Crystal Garnett

ACF Digital Discipleship Director and Church Plant