Taken Captive Through Hollow & Deceptive Philosophies—Colossians 2:8
“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” (Colossians 2:8)
It is important to keep the main thing, the main thing and that is Christ. He is the plumb line that all other notions, ideas, philosophies and traditions should be compared and weighed. Paul goes to give the reason in the very next verse, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form” (vs. 9).
This is a warning for us to guard and protect the most important thing, keeping Christ at the forefront of our lives in a place where we are constantly remembering His authority and supremacy; and continually submitting to His Lordship. A tactic of the enemy to take us captive through meaningless reasoning and ritualistic customs. We are warned to be on guard.
How to Protect Yourself Against Being Deceived
First, our perspective needs to be based on truth. We are warned not to be carried off or spoiled by hollow and deceptive philosophies. This can include anything that debunks Jesus from His rightful place. We can be slaves to basic things simply because our ideology finds reason in human ideas. These things may not be contrary to the teachings of Christ; they may just skew our perception enough to fool us and keep us off track.
Paul gives many helpful instructions in Colossians to help protect and keep in the truth. One comes in the prior passage; “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” (Colossians 2:6-7). We can remain in the truth by continuing in the same faith we had when we first believed... established in Jesus, growing in conviction and being grateful. These things will protect us against being deceived.
We can also guard ourselves against empty philosophies by having an eternal perspective. Colossians also records; “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:1-2). If our perspective is set on Christ and being raised and seated with Him then our worldview will be from that vantage point.
Secondly, traditions are fine but they should never take precedence over truth. Traditions and customs are a normal part of life, but we can run into trouble when we allow them to dictate our beliefs. Many traditions that are a part of our worship today are based on human teaching and practices. It is important to evaluate the reason behind such things to make sure align with teachings of Christ.
With the Colossians they were judging each other by their observance of feast days, certain types of food, religious festivals and even Sabbath days however this is Paul's response to them. “Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings” (Colossians 2:22). In other words, don’t let traditions disqualify you from the big picture plans God has for you.
Stay the Course
Keep the main thing, the main thing. Stay focused on Jesus and let the truth of who He is penetrate your thoughts and behavior. Do not be deceived or swayed into following empty customs for the sake of tradition. Keep your mind clear and focused; have an eternal perspective in all things.
May God bless you today; may He continue to reveal His heart to you. I pray that you stay on course, focused on Him and set your mind on things above where He is seated and enjoying the place of Lord.
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