With the many historic traditions and rituals that accompany the Christian faith, it’s easy to get swept up in the pursuit of spirituality as more of a club or rite of passage. We can reach for things that are mere spiritual substitutes instead of Christ alone. But, at the end of the day, it’s important to stay focused on the truth in order to grow in our spiritual life.
- As Christians, which is more important: the items we can cross off of a religious checklist, or the reflection of Christ’s love, compassion, and grace evidenced in how we live our lives?
READ THE WORD: COLOSSIANS 2:16-19 (ESV)
16 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. 17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. 18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.
- In verse 16, why did Paul call out these specific items regarding judgment?
- What is significant about connecting those elements to Christ? Are they what cause our growth in Christ?
- Why was Paul concerned with things such as asceticism (a severe form of self-denial) and worship of angels? What lines do these things blur with regard to Christianity?
- In verse 19, who does the “Head” represent, and why is it so important that we hold fast?
- Take a moment to consider where parts of your life may diverge from Christ’s teachings. How can you hold fast to Christ alone?
RESPOND TO GOD
Paul wrote this letter to the Colossians at a time when false teaching, legalism, and paganism had infiltrated the church at Colossae. They were turning to mysticism and austerity as a form of spirituality instead of Jesus. The errant philosophies and teachings that riddled the church at that time are not unlike what we see in our culture today. Paul warns of the fault in letting these things deter us from our faith. He reminds us that we have everything we need in Christ alone.
- Ask God for wisdom to apply Paul’s concerns for the Colossians to your life today.
- Spend time giving thanks to God for his gift of Jesus Christ, for his grace, and for guidance through his Word.