40 day bible challenge
Day 17 | Colossians 2:20-3:4
Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, 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, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.
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 minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
In Colossians 2:20-23 Paul is reminding the Colossians of the change they went through when they decided to follow Jesus, they “died with Christ to the elemental forces of this world” v20. They did away with their religious rules on food, drinks and material things. However, now they have begun to follow the rules of the world “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!” v21, persuaded by religious leaders. Paul is trying to make them see that this is not a Godly way of living. A relationship with God is not built upon religious rules and rituals; when we give our lives to God we live by his rules, not those designed by flawed humans.
Since coming to university, several people have asked me if I’m ‘very religious’ when they find out I go to Church regularly. Explaining my faith in these scenarios, and how it is defined by a relationship with God not by human regulations, has particularly challenged me and made me re-evaluate how I should be standing out as a Christian to those around me.
” A relationship with God is not built upon religious rules and rituals.”
In the next part of the passage, chapter 3, Paul says “set your hearts on things above, where Christ is” v1. It can be so easy to get caught up in life and let things such as exams or big decisions become our focus, but this a reminder that since we have been saved we no longer need to focus on earthly things but instead turn to Christ for our guidance.
When Paul says “your life is now hidden with Christ in God” v3 I think he means that Christ is what determines the decisions we make, how we spend our time and how we interact with other people. A few days after reading this passage I was listening to the song “For The One” by Bethel – about God’s great love is for us and how we as Christians desire to reflect this love to those around us. The line “Let all my life tell of who you are” particularly stood out to me and helped me in understanding verses 3-4. If Christ is our focus in everything, we should be living out our faith not just by routines such as going Church on Sundays (although this is important for our faith), but by our actions and conversations telling of who Jesus is to those around us. If we are truly trusting Christ in every aspect of our lives, I think this should be obvious to our peers that we are choosing to live our whole lives differently.
I know personally it is so easy for my focus to shift and for worries and anxieties about life to take over, especially in the student environment where the majority are living with purely earthly focuses. But Paul reminds us that if we make Christ our lives we will receive the greatest reward of appearing “with Him in glory” v4 when He appears. Ultimately it is only through living by Gods rules that we can have eternal life with Christ, no human generated rules or goals will ever be enough to fulfil us.
We’re doing a 40 Day Bible Challenge as a Student Church to engage more with the Bible and the daily podcasts we do here as a church.
To listen to today’s podcast on the same passage as above click here.