For Christmas I was given a “Growth Book,” something I had heard about online and asked for. It’s a way to follow your growth for the year, allowing you to track your goals, reading, prayer requests, God’s faithfulness, and reflect each month where you’ve done well or where you need change. There are many blank pages for journaling or taking notes from sermons or podcasts — or however else you want to use them. It has been a help to me to record these things and visualize progress.
Colossians 2:7 is the verse they have in the front of each Growth Book, encouraging us to let our roots grow down into Jesus and our lives be built on Him. With that in mind, I decided for February to memorize Colossians 2:5-7. These verses are words that the Apostle Paul wrote to the Colossians:
5 “For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.
6 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 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 2:5-7
To be honest, I wasn’t too excited about memorizing this section of Scripture. It wasn’t one filled with particular meaning, but one I had more or less stumbled upon in the Growth Book and for lack of anything else, went with.
But God’s Word is living and active. Why would I doubt He could speak to me through the daily activity of memorizing Scripture? It’s not intended to be rote memorization.
As I spoke verse 5 aloud one morning, there was a moment that struck me. What if these words of Paul to the Colossians could be words that the Lord could speak to us. That even though He is not physically present with us, His Spirit is present (as He noted for his disciples in John 14), that He sees us (He is the God who sees, El Roi) and the growing steadfastness of faith that He is working out in us.
Can you imagine that the Lord could speak these kinds of words of commendation over us? I don’t know if He will, but doesn’t even the thought compel us to want verses 6 and 7, to walk in Him, to be firmly rooted and built up in Him, established in our faith, to overflow with gratitude? And to push forward to trust Him more because we want to hear Him one day say to us, similar to the master in Matthew 25, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Master.”
Of course, we can’t live this life in our own strength and power, but by the power of His Holy Spirit, living in us as believers. We can’t earn our salvation; it is a gift of grace. But through Him, He enables us to live holy lives as we seek Him. This leads to joy and blessing as we follow Him.
Apart from Scripture memorization each month, I’m also trying to read at least one book. I haven’t finished Drew Dyck’s Your Future Self Will Thank You: Secrets to Self-Control from the Bible and Brain Science, but I’ve read enough to recommend it.
I’ve interacted with Drew in the past on a few things related to work, and he is now an editor at Moody Publishers. He is also fun to follow on Twitter.
Drew notes that, “We tend to think of self-control as a strictly human enterprise, but Scripture describes self-control as a product of being connected to God. It’s something that grows when your life is rooted in divine reality. In fact, if it’s missing, your faith may be a ruse. No fruit, no root.”
Well, that’s convicting! Self-control is part of the fruit of the Spirit, after all, though. And it connects back to the verses above about the need to be rooted in Christ to grow. Drew also gives some practical strategies. I look forward to the rest of the book.
On this unique day, February 29, it’s been good to stop and reflect, refocus, respond, and review the past month with the Growth Book. And now to look ahead to March, to prayerfully commit the days to Him and where He leads, for wisdom and help.
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18