You Can Eat That If You Want To
I mentioned previously that one of the reasons for writing Colossians was to correct false teaching that had risen up in the church. One of the false teachings that has continued throughout church history in various forms is the replacement of Christ with special acts of man; celebrations and rules/regulations that are designed to take the place of following Jesus. The natural inclination of man is to “please” God by doing things and also it pleases man to attempt to control the behavior of others, often under the guise of religion. Jesus dealt with this often while He was on earth. He pointed to the emptiness of ritual and rules. Well, it didn’t go away and unfortunately it is still alive today. Here is what Paul writes in chapter 2, verses 16-19: “16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, 17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. 18 Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.” Note that Paul’s objection to ritual and rule is that they take away from the worship of Jesus. One who is fixated on these other things will not be focused on Jesus. He will miss the substance of Christ. He will not “hold fast” to the Head, who is Christ. If one doesn’t hold onto Christ, he will not be nourished and eventually he will die.
Ritual/rule/celebration are not intrinsically bad or evil but they can get that way pretty fast if they become a substitute. Paul tells the Colossians not to let others judge them in regard to what they eat or drink or a festival they celebrate. The key is to stay in a relationship with Jesus and be supplied by Him. All of us have rules/rituals and celebrations. Are you allowing them to take the place of Jesus in your life? If so, please change that by changing your attitude or by removing the rule/ritual or celebration. If you’d like to talk about it, please contact me.