6 And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. 7 Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.
8 Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. 9 For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. 10 So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.
11 When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature. 12 For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.
13 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. 14 He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. 15 In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.
16 So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. 17 For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality. 18 Don’t let anyone condemn you by insisting on pious self-denial or the worship of angels, saying they have had visions about these things. Their sinful minds have made them proud, 19 and they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body. For he holds the whole body together with its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God nourishes it.
Dear God, when I read this passage this morning verse 8 caught my eye:
Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather from Christ.
My initial thought went to issues like gay marriage and other issues that separate what I’ll call “fundamentalist” Christians and “moderate” Christians. Do I allow my own beliefs to succumb to the world’s views in the name of intellectualism?
My wife and I were listening to a podcast yesterday where the hosts were talking about a large church in Minneapolis that is going through a purging of some of its leadership because of the sin of “empathy.” The person who won the power struggle and forced the exit of three of the top pastors (including the head pastor) apparently feels like there is a difference between sympathy and empathy. It’s in this Christianity Today article: “Bethlehem Baptist Leaders Clash Over “Coddling” and “Cancel Culture.” Apparently, according to one side, sympathy is biblical while empathy is not biblical. As I understand the argument, empathy will lead you to disconnect from the truth as you put yourself in someone else’s place and make you more susceptible to embracing heresy in the name of love.
The argument Skye Jethani made in the Holy Post podcast was that, yes, empathy can be taken too far, but it’s no more unbiblical than is charity because sometimes charity can be abused and taken too far. He also made a really good point that the act of you coming to earth through Jesus was a pretty good display of empathy on your part.
So then I came to the second thought, which was that it is just as easy for someone to be mislead by errant “conservative” teaching as it is someone to be mislead into being too liberal. Which brings me back to verse 7 of this passage, because it is the only solution that I know to keep me right before you and doing the work you have me to do in this world:
Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.
Father, all I really know to pray here is help me to keep plugged into you as deeply as I can. Help me to nourish the soil of my heart, weeding it from the cares of this world, so that my roots can grow deep and I can start to have the moment Neo had in the Matrix, and I start to see the world for what it really is with your perspective and not just what my eyes see it as. In this moment, I’m acutely aware of how much I need you. Please be with me.
In Jesus’s name I pray,