Strengthened in the love of Christ

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love” Ephesians 3: 16 – 17

Jacaranda is a flowering plant that comes from tropical and subtropical regions of Central America and South America. Because of its beauty, this plant is widely grown in various countries, including Indonesia, which can be found on the grounds of the IPB campus in Bogor. The name Jacaranda is actually the genus name which is the common name of the plant.

The Jacaranda plant, which can grow to 20-30 meters high, is a large tree with strong roots. This tree begins to flower at the beginning of the dry season in Indonesia and summer in Australia. With a bluish purple color, this flower can last up to 2 months before falling off. When entering the peak, the flowers of this plant almost cover the entire tree so that it looks very beautiful to the eye.

The fruit of the Jacaranda tree is shaped like a flat capsule containing many slender seeds. From small seeds, this tree can thrive in the sun on sandy soil. Mature plants are tough trees that can be said to withstand all weather conditions, but young plants are more susceptible and often may not survive the winter months.

Our Christian life might be described as a Jacaranda tree which has to grow from a tiny seed in a favorable environment and climate for many years to become a strong, flowery tree. In the above verse, Paul mentions two things that are important for the Christian life.

First, his desire for the Ephesians to grow in faith, not knowledge, although both are important. Please note, Paul in Ephesians 2:22 also uses the idea of ​​”the dwelling place of God, in the Spirit”. Furthermore, Paul also taught the Colossians, “Let the words of Christ dwell, and all their riches among you” (Colossians 3:16). Thus, a good environment for the growth of our faith is a life in closeness to Jesus Christ.

Second, Paul prays that his readers will be safe in their dependence on the love of Christ. The image is a tree that must be firmly supported by deep roots (Matthew 13: 6, 21; 15:13; Mark 4:17). Love, especially that expressed among fellow Christians, and that comes from Christ is a hallmark of our faith (John 13: 34-35). Love is also meant to keep Christians strong on earth, staying in a place with Christ who grows us to maturity. In this regard, Colossians 2: 7 says something similar about “taking root in Him and being built up on Him and growing steadfast in the faith”.

Today God’s word invites us to be more focused on our spiritual life. Having a good inner life is absolutely necessary so that we will know more about God who has revealed Himself to us and can understand more about His love. Our outer person may degenerate more and more, and the challenges of life may weaken our physical body, but the person we are inside must grow stronger. Despite the many challenges in our life, our faith will grow bigger and bigger in our spiritual fellowship with Christ.

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