REALITY IS FOUND IN CHRIST
Father, I long for a touch of your mercy, an experience of your grace, a sense of your unconquerable love.
Read COLOSSIANS 2:16-23
Freedom From Human Rules
16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. 18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. 19 They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.
20 Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhose opinions about you matter most? Whose approval do you seek? What happens when you don’t live up to expectations? Clear your mind now as you listen to the only voice that really matters.
Most people think that religion is all about crazy dos and don’ts. And mostly they are correct, except when it comes to Christianity. The Colossians were targets of religious zealots who brought strange lists and mysteries instead of reality. In their case it was about Jewish law and weird experiences with angels. In our case the focus is different, but the theme is the same: ‘Reality is bigger than Jesus’; ‘Just following Jesus is not enough’; ‘Here is something shinier or more satisfying instead.’
Almost always these voices want to add something burdensome to our faith. More rules to obey must surely mean more favor in God’s eyes. Not so! Paul’s command is simple: Don’t let yourself be judged by the wrong standard (v 16).
But how can we know what is right? We need to learn the difference between fake and genuine religion. Genuine religion is connected to Jesus, literally (v 19). Fake religion is based on human wisdom and false humility. Paul will spend the rest of this letter addressing this challenge. Stay tuned!
If reality is found in Christ, why is it so hard to live in the real world in his name? Ask for wisdom in the challenges you face – he promises to grant it to those who ask in faith (James 1:5).
Mighty God, it seems to be a part of my makeup to want rules to follow. Forgive me for this, and thank you for the reminder that Jesus and grace are enough.
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