Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Fall is my favorite time of year: beautiful leaves; hot cocoa; snuggling under a warm blanket on a chilly night.
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 – “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” ( referring to things that all perish as they are used) – according to human precepts and teachings? 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. (Colossians 2:20-23 ESV)
Alan Knox has started a discussion on this verse over at his blog called “The Assembling of the Church” – (http://www.alanknox.net/2010/10/dont-do-it/).
I read once somewhere that the book of Colossians and the book of Hebrews are two books that are very seldom focused on and preached from. I can’t remember why they aren’t but as I look at this section of Colossians it has a subtitle in the NIV titled “Freedom from human regulations through life in Christ” (Colossians 2:6-23), maybe that is why. ;o)
Once upon a time I would have argued that Christianity is not a religion. All those who worship false gods were part of religion. To me Christianity was God’s way, the path He wanted his people to be on. But for many years I struggled because I wanted to find a church home (a denomination) but every church had its own set of rules and how they did things. This made things very confusing for me. Because they couldn’t all be right in their practices, only one could. So I was searching for which one was the most right. Looking back now I find that idea amusing. Now almost 20 years later I see that Christianity is a religion, a man made religion. A religion that men have put together to follow God, to “protect” people, in some cases to control people. I don’t think anyone set out maliciously to set up a religion to control people but it has been used in negative ways, men get power hungry or like to live in the limelight as the professional Christian (pastors, bishops, etc). Now I see Christ came to set us free from man made religion but to this very day we choose to stay in it. We like our box of protection (building, leadership, ministries, once a week meetings). It allows us to feel part of God’s plan without making us uncomfortable trying to walk with God. We have nice little boxes to check to say we were a good Christian this week, and be back next week to check the boxes again.
I know that sounds cold hearted on my part. It is not my intention to be mean but to hopefully make someone think twice about HOW they are living out their faith with our heavenly Father. Many people have no idea that there is something outside of man made buildings called churches and institutionalized denominational meetings and kiddie programs called Sunday School. In this portion of Scripture (Colossians 2) we are reminded that we don’t need religion, man made rules, and the rest. We only need Christ. And Christ can be followed outside of the church building walls and programs.
I have been outside the world of institutionalized denominational church for almost 3 years now. I am blessed to be part of a community of believers. It is my prayer that each Christian would be blessed with fellowship in a community of Christians like I have been. My dear friend Lori has said in the past that she had heard over and over again that fellowship was very important to the Christian walk (from pastors and such) but she never really got why. She never found church fellowship very fulfilling. But when she came to experience fellowship within this community of believers, she finally experienced what true fellowship is and can be and now she truly knows why it is so beneficial to have fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ.
So I encourage every Christian to not get caught up in the rules and regulations of denominational Christian religion, but to seek a relationship with Christ, and find the freedom that He wants us to have. We only have to focus on two things… love God and love others.
“see to it no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition…” Colossians 2:8