Freedom From Human Regulations Through Life With Christ (Col 2:6-12)
6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. 11 In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.
I love how Paul uses the word ‘captive’ to describe the potential that awaits us if we don’t appreciate and live out the freedom that we have in a life of Christ.
Nelson Mandela, after being released from 27 years in prison, said something about the disaster being free, but living as if you are still in chains. This is a sad reality for so many Christians. Paul is touching on this here – warning the Colossians to not allow (that’s an important word!) anyone to take them captive (in other words, take them back to prison after being set free by Christ’s power) through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world.
Human Philosophy. Traditions. Sounds like religion to me! That is what Paul is warning the Colossians against: religion. Ritualistic, traditional acts that have bondage and captivity as a result, rather than freedom in Christ. Paul explains that the Colossians are to “continue to live in him”.
So many Christians start out their Christian journey in freedom, enjoying the liberty of Christ’s sacrificial offering and what that gives to the Christian. But soon, the passion, the freedom, the liberty comes to an end and religion kicks in. Christians go through the motions. Expressionless worship. Repeated prayers. Lifeless bible study. Religions, not freedom.
Are you possibly in that phase of your journey where your relationship with God is a little more religion than relationship?
A CALL TO ACTION
The way to deal with religion is to focus on relationship. Ask yourself important questions:
• When I pray – am I truly focussing on communicating with God, or just going through the motions
• When I worship – am I just singing songs, or am I focussing on the truth the songs contain and worshipping as a response to the awe I feel when I think of who Christ is and what He’s done
• Am I reading my bible just to ‘get through it’ or am I allowing the pages of scripture to challenge the way I live my life.
These questions should guide you to action; guide you to bring some change in your life if that is what’s necessary. It was for Freedom that Christ has set you free. Don’t choose to live a life in religious chains when Christ has cut you free from the chains that bind you.
A CALL TO PRAYER
Jesus thank you that you desire for me to live a life of freedom. Thank you that in your presence is fullness of joy, liberty, freedom and life. Forgive me for allowing some part of our relationship to become routine religion. Please help me to get back to enjoying the freedom I have as a result of your work on my behalf. Amen.
(As an encouragement, check out Jesus Culture’s song “Freedom reigns” here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_HjIPd8WWk )