Friday, August 8, 2008

Colossians 2:20-23

Day 13

If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.

How did we die with Christ? Paul answers this question in Romans 6: “All of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death. . . We have been buried with Him through baptism into death so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. . . our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.”

Our “old self”, the self that was born under the bondage and condemnation of sin, died when we received Jesus as Savior. With that declaration of faith, we were “born from above” (John 3:6), which was a second birth, this time a spiritual one. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

With that information in mind, Paul is wondering why the Colossians would think of abiding by the rules and regulations of the former life they had. They had put that life in the grave! They had been reborn. Yet they were being tempted to go back to the same “old things” that they had previously left behind.

The false teachers were advocating a return to earthly pursuits. They were urging the Colossians to keep their focus on themselves and on what they could do to achieve “holiness.” This might produce a product that might look religious on the outside, but in reality was pulling the focus back down to earthly matters rather than being heaven-bound, tearing it away from Christ.

Anything that pulls a focus away from Christ is a journey down the wrong path. It becomes all about us and our accomplishments. Soon we get so wrapped up in doing and saying the right things that our love for Christ takes a back seat to the life we are trying to live for Christ.

What God wants from us is complete dependence on Him. He doesn’t want us to strut around in our self-sufficiency. He wants us at His feet, aware of our need for Him, aware of our shortcomings. Because the truth of the matter is, any sense of sufficiency beyond what Christ has given us is not reality at all, but purely delusional.

What part of your old self do you continue to try to resurrect? Ask God for the wisdom to see those things, as well as the strength to move beyond them.

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