ONLY JESUS—COLOSSIANS 2 | Colossians
Monday— I am telling you this so no one will deceive you with well-crafted arguments (v 4).
Brock tossed his backpack on the sofa and embraced his mom. “So glad you’re home!” she cried, hugging him tightly then held him at arm’s length. “Wow, a whole year of college,” she said. “I swear you’ve grown a foot. Come tell me all about it.” She led the way to the kitchen and he grabbed a chair. “First off,” he began. “I want to let you guys know up front that I won’t be going to church with you while I’m home. I’ve given all that up. My philosophy professor convinced me that the concept of God is a myth and my study group introduced me to other religions that have a lot of merit. So I’m considering neo-paganism.”
No Christian parent wants to hear that when Junior arrives home from college. Yet, thousands do. They did in Paul’s day, too, so he kept busy writing letters to his beloved churches to keep them from sliding into paganism like Brock did. Some eloquent thinkers intimidate us with their arguments, but new arguments are merely old ones with a fresh coat of paint. Some skeptics wave the word “science” around as though it spelled death for Christianity, but science is simply man discovering what God put in His universe. True science has never been at odds with the Bible and it never will be. The only way to make ourselves and our children deception-proof is to be grounded in the word of God. We don’t just memorize verses for a gold star. We imbed them in our brains, anchor them in our souls, and live our lives by them. Only then can we withstand well-crafted arguments.
Final Thought: How deception-proof is your family?
Prayer: Father, our world is drowning in well-crafted arguments that deny everything you’ve said. Deepen my commitment to knowing your word and teaching those in my life. I don’t want to be deceived by my enemy. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Tuesday— …just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to walk in Him (v 6).
“Oh, I’m a Christian, if that’s what you mean,” Mike smirked. “I’ve just never lived it.” Josh gave him a puzzled look. “What makes you think you’re a Christian, then?” he asked. Mike recoiled. “Well, my grandpa was a preacher and he baptized me when I was seven. He told me I was. I believe the Bible and all that stuff…” Josh nodded. “I see. Would you show me in the Bible where it’s possible to be a Christian and NOT live it? I haven’t read that part.” Mike gaped at him. “Uh…I…I don’t really know…I thought believing was all there was to it.” Josh grinned. “It is, but when we really believe something, we live it.”
Imagine if Mike told you, “I believe in the law of gravity, but I’m gonna jump out my office window and see if I fly.” Your brain would not accept both statements as true. He either believes in gravity or he doesn’t because real belief would alter his choices. Paul is reminding the Colossians that IF they have received Jesus, then He is their Lord and they should live accordingly. If they do not continue to “walk in Him,” then He is NOT their Lord. It’s one or the other. We “walk in Him” when we filter every decision through this question: “What does Jesus tell me to do?” That’s what it means to be a Christian. A follower. A disciple. Our hearts have switched Lords, from Self to Jesus because when we really believe something, we live it.
Final Thought: Does your life demonstrate that you truly believe in Christ Jesus as Lord? Do you “walk in Him?”
Prayer: Lord, I need to be sure about this. Does my life indicate what I truly believe? IF I believe you are the God of the universe who offers to make me your child, I would live it. I surrender to your lordship in everything. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Wednesday— Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense… (v 8).
Is there such a thing as absolute truth? Get ready for some statistics. A recent poll indicates that 46% of people attending evangelical churches say that moral truth is up to the individual. Only 42% agree that God is the basis of moral truth, while a mere 69% of those identifying as “born-again Christians” believe that. Less than half of that group lists the Bible as their primary source of direction on moral decisions. Why such shockingly low statistics in regard to God, the Bible, and truth? For one, we’ve redesigned what it means to be a “born-again Christian. But for another, those sad statistics are indications that our nation and the church have been captured by empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense.
Before a football team takes the field, coaches study the opposition. Before doctors cure a disease, they study it. So before a Christian can successfully navigate around Satan’s minefields, we must study them. What lies are currently popular? What influences are working their way into our homes? What values reign supreme in pop culture? You can bet they’ll be opposite of what God has stated. If we’re not grounded in God’s word, we’re easily entangled in high-sounding nonsense, loudly declaring it to be the most loving, most tolerant, most like Jesus. These wars play out on social media and the comments sections of every video. Empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense now rule this nation, culture—and many churches.
Final Thought: Examine your own theology by comparing it to scripture. Does God call it truth or nonsense?
Prayer: Father, I think I’ve been captured by some of the world’s philosophies because they sound so good. Help me take a long look at why I think what I think about life. If it isn’t backed by your whole word, out it goes. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Thursday— He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross (v 14).
We all have a rap sheet longer than Santa’s naughty list. We might still like some of those actions listed on the sheet, but God says they’re damnable, so they condemn us as much as the items we hate. This list stands like a cement wall between us and God. We have no way to scale the wall. The list is with us wherever we go and weighs us down. So God built a bridge over the wall, formed from the blood of His Son. The toll required for passage over this bridge is our list. ALL of it—even the items we like. No one crossing the bridge gets to hang on to their list because nothing on it belongs on the other side. When we hand it over, God nails it to His Son’s cross and opens the only gate to the bridge.
But for many, the toll is too high. They insist on keeping some things on the list, so they try cutting it up and saving their favorites. “I’ll give up stealing,” they murmur as they wield the scissors. “But I like sex with my boo, so I’m keeping that…and partying…yeah, don’t wanna part with that…” By the time they finish, there’s not much to nail but it doesn’t matter because God has moved on. They try to nail the scrap themselves, but it only falls off and the wall remains unyielding. For the repentant though, God takes the whole list and nails it Himself. Those sins no longer weight us, so we pass over the wall to freedom.
Final Thought: Because of Jesus, God can cancel the charges against us—when we repent of them.
Prayer: Lord, have I been like one of those people who tries to cut up the list in order to keep my favorite sins? That means I’m still on the dark side of the wall. I repent now and hand you the whole list. Nail it to the cross. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Friday— Let no one disqualify you…going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason… (v 18).
There are few people more irritating than professing Christians, mired in unrepentant sin but “puffed up without reason.” Satan is full of hot air and substitutes it for Holy Spirit conviction. “You’re a better Christian than she is,” he growls to a Puffer who’s been confronted about a sinful lifestyle. “You won Bible Bee five years straight and no one should judge your sex life.” Or, “That pastor offended you. You should go somewhere else or drop out of church altogether. That’ll teach him to stick his nose in your private business.” So they create their own brand of Christianity, recruit others, and stay puffed up without reason.
In Paul’s day, the Puffer crowd was pushing angel worship and homemade rules. In our day, it’s subtler. Puffers begin sentences with, “I know it’s wrong, but…” Or “I know Jesus paid for my sin, but…” By removing or adding to the Bible, Puffers elevate their own understanding above God’s. Puffers reject correction, but are free with rebukes. They challenge time-tested wisdom in favor of their own and pretend a humility that isn’t there. They prefer visions, dreams, and “prophesies” over scripture and assume knowledge equals spiritual maturity. They float into a room on a cloud of self-righteousness, mistaking it for godly essence, and pollute the atmosphere with the stench. Paul pleads with us: Don’t let them derail you! They’re puffed up without reason. Stick to God’s word. Welcome it. Defend it. Obey it. Live it. Love it. Anything else is hot air.
Final Thought: Are you in danger of joining the Puffer crowd? Evaluate your views by God’s word, nothing more or less.
Prayer: Father, am I a puffer? Am I faithful to your word or have I added some things of my own? It’s about Jesus. Period. Your Son who died and rose again. My life is about magnifying and honoring Him. Keep me faithful. In His name, amen.