Topic: Doing the Opposite (October 10, 2016)
Read: Colossians 2:20–3:4
Bible in a Year: Isaiah 34–36; Colossians 2
For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3
A wilderness excursion can seem daunting, but for outdoor enthusiasts this only adds to the appeal. Because hikers need more water than they can carry, they purchase bottles with built-in filters so they can use water sources along the way. But the process of drinking from such a container is counterintuitive. Tipping the bottle does nothing. A thirsty hiker has to blow into it to force the water through the filter. Reality is contrary to what seems natural.
As we follow Jesus, we find much that is counterintuitive. Paul pointed out one example: Keeping rules won’t draw us closer to God. He asked, “Why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: ‘Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!’? These rules . . . are based on merely human commands and teachings” (Col. 2:20–22).
So what are we to do? Paul gave the answer. “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above” (3:1). “You died,” he told people who were still very much alive, “and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (v. 3).
We are to consider ourselves “dead” to the values of this world and alive to Christ. We now aspire to a way of life demonstrated by the One who said, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant” (Matt. 20:26).
Consider what these counterintuitive principles from the Bible might mean for you: “Whoever loses their life for me will find it” (Matt. 16:25). “The last will be first, and the first will be last” (Matt. 20:16). “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10).
God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. 1 Corinthians 1:27
Insight: In Colossae a false teaching known as gnosticism circulated. It promoted the idea that matter is evil and spirit is good, rejecting Jesus Christ’s full humanity as well as His complete divinity. To correct this, Paul wrote: “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form” (Col. 2:9). An equally destructive heresy in the spiritual life of the Colossian believers was legalism. This can be summed up as placating the gods or God by following a set of rules for behavior. The believers in Colossae fell into the trap of applying legalism to their Christian walk. Paul’s correction of legalism was logical: He argued that to experience redemption in Christ means that we die to man-made religions of this world and gain spiritual life in Him.