Growing is going deeper into our identity in Jesus

In the last post we thought about what growing in maturity was not. It’s not God then me, it’s not God not me, and it’s not God plus me. So what does it look like to grow in maturity as we follow Jesus?

In Colossians 2 Paul writes(6-7) “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.”

Do you see the key idea?  Where do the Colossian believers find themselves?  Where must they locate themselves?  If they turned on their spiritual Google or Apple maps where would they be?  They are living their lives “in Christ”.  They are united to Christ.  This is a really crucial idea for us to get because it’s one of the ways Christians are referred to most often in the New Testament.  And it’s the key to being liberated to live for Jesus and grow up in our faith.

Let me try an illustration to help us get this idea.  Imagine that I decide to go to New Zealand, what do I need to do?  I need to book a seat on a flight to New Zealand.  But the booking’s not enough is it?  If I want to get to New Zealand I need to be in the plane when it takes off. It’s no good me just having the ticket on my phone or in my pocket.  It’s no good me just knowing of the plane but not being on it.  It’s not enough to be at the airport close to the plane or even observing the plane as it takes off.  There‘s no point me trying to copy the plane, running up and down making engine noises with my arms out on the runway. I have to be in the plane.  Then everything that happens to the plane happens to me.

That’s Paul’s point: believers are in Christ and so everything that happens to Jesus happens to them and us(9-15).  In Christ the Colossians, and we with them, are brought into the fullness of God(9-10), doesn’t that blow your mind?  We are brought into experiencing the full love and goodness of almighty God because we are in Jesus by faith.  In him our hearts are circumcised(11), we are buried with him to our old way of life in baptism and rise in him to new life.  (13-15)We were dead in our sins until we were made alive by being united by faith to Jesus with all our debt taken by him at the cross and nailed to it.  And because we’re in Christ his victory is our victory over every power and authority which he’s achieved at the cross(15).

Isn’t that absolutely mindblowing?  By faith we are united to Jesus and all that’s his is ours because we’re in him, there is a lifetime of growth in unpacking and mining that truth.  And the Colossians will grow, mature, become more like Jesus, as they understand and grasp the significance and implications and applications of locating themselves, their identity, in him.

Fundamental to our growing in Christ is to recognise who we are and where we find ourselves. We are in Christ! Everything that happens to him happens to us.

Photo by Daniel Eledut on Unsplash
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