For the last couple of weeks the Lord has been urging me to spend time in the book of Colossians. And once I got into it again, I realized that it has been a very long time since I studied it! So I’m back in it. As I go I am finding SO MANY things that I’d forgotten, or that the Holy Spirit hadn’t illuminated for me before now, and I want not only to share them, but to share my thoughts as I go; what better place to do that than on my blog? Here I can not only share, but also learn from any comments that you may feel led to share back. These will be in no particular order as my studying isn’t necessarily in the same order in which the chapters and verses are written.
Chapter 2, verses 20-23: If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations– “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)– according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.
I grew up in a church that was loaded with rules and breaking them meant it would be harder to get into heaven. So even today, in my 60’s, there is a little voice in my head that warns me to follow this tradition or that rule OR ELSE! Yes, even though I have experienced the grace of God, and continue to do so, there’s still that little voice.
These “human precepts and teaching” have messed me up for many years. Even while I KNOW that “they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh” and all they do is create guilt because I fail at following them and too many times that little voice, in its mere appearance of wisdom, tries to take me back to those teachings. So it was like reading these verses for the first time as the Spirit gently told me, “See this? Those human precepts and teachings are not helping you, only the Word, Who is alive, can stop the indulgence(s) of the flesh!”
What are these indulgences of the flesh? Well, in verses 16-18 Paul talks about “…questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath...asceticism and worship of angels…” These are things that I have heard and seen believers argue about many many times. but God tells us through Paul, that “These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.” (v.17) These aren’t the things we’re to be worrying about right now. They aren’t ours, they are Christ’s! And though they’ll have meaning in the future, right now they are of no use to us in the present reality of living for Jesus!
“Therefore let no one pass judgment on you...” (v.16)
Not even that little voice in my head.