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Complete in Him
It was late in the afternoon and I was sitting on my bed. A few inches from me sat my Bible, but opening it was the last thing I wanted to do. I was 15 years old, and as I had often done throughout my teen years, I was bemoaning the fact that I was fatherless. At that point in my life, I was having trouble keeping my grades up and I was extremely shy, so making friends had been difficult. I would think, “if only my Dad was still alive, things would have been different for me. Perhaps I would have had better grades, maybe I would have more friends…” I didn’t have a father so I had rooted my identity in what the world said about me, and I was miserable.As I sat on that bed that afternoon, I finally shook off the depressing thoughts long enough to reach over for my Bible and open it, and whether by coincidence or design, the eyes fell on Psalm 27:10; “When my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take care of me.” Tears began to form in my eyes as I realized how much God loved me. It was as if God was telling me, “Let me be your Father, let me fill that void.” In the weeks, months and years that followed, I developed a hunger for God’s Word, wanting to know everything that my Heavenly Father said and thought about me. As I continued to feed on His Word, my insecurities and depression fell away as my identity became rooted in Christ Jesus and not the world.
Rooted in Christ
When Paul wrote to the church in Colossae, they were under heavy attack from the forces of heresy including human philosophy, mysticism and asceticism. Yet he didn’t want them to just survive, He wanted them to thrive! He also understood that in order for them to do that, they had to be rooted in Christ Jesus. So he wrote in Colossians 2:6, 7, “And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. 7 Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught…”As the roots of the Colossian church went deep into the soils of Christ, they would be complete in Him, and would not be susceptible to the heretical attacks against their faith.
Just North of Death Valley in the White Mountains of California, sits Methuselah, an antique bristlecone pine, aptly named for its ancient age of 4,849 years. Its exact location is actually a secret kept by the U.S. Forest Service to protect the ancient tree from vandalism. The Biblical Methuselah lived until he was 969 years old, but this bristlecone pine is almost five times longer. It was already hundreds of years old when God called Abram out of Ur of the Chaldees, it was growing as the pyramids of Egypt were being constructed, and it stood strong as David shepherded his sheep, writing the twenty third Psalm. In fact, Methuselah, if the correct age holds, has been around since the days of the flood.
The interesting thing about Methuselah is that while its harsh and often cold environment should work against it, it actually aids it in ensuring it lives longer. Most bristlecone pines grow in California and Nevada at almost 10, 000-foot elevation and where the moisture precipitation is the world. But the reason that they grow for so long is that they have virtually no competition. In that high altitude, there are no other competing plants and trees, so the bristlecone pine is able spread its roots and grow with ample space. When we begin to eliminate any competing voices and that aim to form our identity in anything else other than Christ, your roots will grow deep in Him and your life will be built on Him. And not only will you survive the enemy’s attacks, you will thrive!