Prayer: Open our hearts and minds to the truths in your Word, Lord Jesus. Amen.
Freedom in Christ
18 Do not let anyone disqualify you,
Rules are good. They help keep us safe on the roads, because most people try to follow the rules we can expect certain behaviors from each other. Rules standardize actions and establish disciplines. Rules tell us when the church service begins so we can plan ahead. Rules tell us when food may spoil and be unsafe for us to be served with it in restaurants, or sold in the stores. Rules protect us and help us conform to society.
But Paul warns that in our spiritual lives, rules can become the focus, rather than the guide. Sometimes we get so caught up in the rules for living a Christ like life, that we forget the freedom that Jesus has brought us. Remember the Pharisees and the Scribes? All the rules they made up that had nothing to do with loving God, and doing His will, but were designed to “show-off” how well you lived a godly life.
We are not called to appear faithful, we are called to “be” faithful. Make up rules and legalistic rituals “have the appearance of wisdom, but are neither Christ-directed nor essential for salvation.” We should not be judged based upon how well we qualify under the rules of man, but by how well we love others in Christ.
Our devotion writer ends with; “Paul calls the Colossians Christians, and us, to acknowledge Jesus’ saving work on the cross on our behalf as the only essential truth. Through faith in Christ, by God’s grace, we are ‘qualified’ as God’s own.”
Prayer: “Dear Jesus, thank you for freeing me to live as God’s child. Amen.”
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
16 Therefore do not let anyone condemn you in matters of food and drink or of observing festivals, new moons, or sabbaths. 17 These are only a shadow of what is to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. 18 Do not let anyone disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, dwelling on visions, puffed up without cause by a human way of thinking, 19 and not holding fast to the head, from whom the whole body, nourished and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows with a growth that is from God.
Warnings against False Teachers
20 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the universe, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world? Why do you submit to regulations, 21 “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch”? 22 All these regulations refer to things that perish with use; they are simply human commands and teachings. 23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-imposed piety, humility, and severe treatment of the body, but they are of no value in checking self-indulgence.