Colossians & Philemonby Mike Raiter
We all want to remain firmly grounded in our faith, continually following Jesus. However, there are some distractions that may derail us. In Colossians 2:8–10, Paul warns us against three spiritual dangers—all to do with ways of thinking.
The first danger is found in verse 8. Paul warns us against being hijacked by “deceptive philosophy”. These are teachings that will lead us away from Christ. They are based on human traditions, which are any ways of thinking that do not have Christ at their centre. Paul also calls these kinds of ideas “elemental spiritual forces of this world” (v. 8). They are the kinds of philosophy that keep us focused on the things of this world. What does that look like today? It is the foolish belief that only what you can see, hear, smell, and touch is real. It is the empty philosophy which says, “Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow you die.” It is the blinkered worldview that says that you can live a successful and godly life and not have Jesus Christ at its centre.
Why are these ways of looking at life and the world so empty? It is simply because all the fullness of God dwells bodily in Christ (v. 9). If all God’s fullness is in Christ, then there is none left over to indwell anyone or anything else. Therefore, any worldview that does not recognise the centrality of Christ is distorted. It also means that if we walk away from Jesus, then we walk away from God.
We now live in this Christ. This Jesus is the head over every authority. Pilate thought he had the power to decide whether Christ lived or died, but Jesus told him otherwise (John 19:10–11). Satan thought he had won a victory by engineering Christ’s death, but God had ordained otherwise (Colossians 2:15). Even earthly authorities who think they call the shots when it comes to who and how their citizens should worship, ultimately serve the One who has been given all authority.
What are some of the worldly ways of thinking that threaten to hijack your faith? How can you guard yourself from being deceived by foolish philosophies?
What are the practical implications of recognising that Christ is the head over every power and authority?