The Appearance of Wisdom


Have you ever bought or received something you were so excited to have and really wanted, but then were so disappointed after you acquired it? Especially during holiday seasons, we can get so wrapped up, no pun intended, in the world. We are all prone to wander. It is so easy to succumb to the ways of this world out of laziness. That is why the Christian life has been called, “The Fight.” It is not meant to be easy. Following Christ is always going against what we/our flesh would do/choose outside of him. We are not to look like the world.

  • In what ways are we called to be different as believers?


20 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— 21 “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” 22 (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? 23 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.


  1. In verse 20, to what did the Colossian Christians die with Christ? And later in the same verse, to what things did they submit? Such as what (vss. 21-22)?
  2. What do these regulations have the appearance of? And why isn’t this true?
  3. If we have died with Christ and have a new identity, then what do you learn in these verses about how we are to live in this world?
  4. Have you ever submitted to regulations according to human precepts and teachings? In what way has this kind of man-made wisdom, this “rule following,” truly helped you be free from indulging in sin?
  5. Give an example of something you need to “die to,” or give-up/stop doing, because you have a new identity in Christ. How does this reflect true wisdom, instead of just the appearance of wisdom?


The appearance of wisdom. The saying implies we think we know what real wisdom is. God is trying to teach us—warn us, even—that human wisdom offers no true freedom. What we think is best or right is not always in alignment with God’s Word. This passage, at its core, is urging us to stop following the ways of this world and to live as people who have identified with Christ in his death. This is true wisdom. This is where freedom comes in dealing with sin. We need to daily submit our lives—in thought and deed—to the ways of God. Let us show that we belong to Christ by the way we live differently from the world.

  • Ask God to help you remember that wise living is accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit within you, and that you are no longer obligated to this world.