“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” Colossians 2:8
You’ve probably heard about, or experienced, choice overload. This happens when people become overwhelmed by the number of choices available for making a decision. Can we say there is a similar experience when it comes to knowing the various deviations from the truth of the Christian faith?
I had that overwhelmed sense when I first started trying to learn about different religious traditions and alterations to Christianity. Then someone advised me to learn Christ. I was encouraged to study the person and work of Christ, who he is and what he has done. I gave myself to understanding the accomplishments of his work on the cross and his resurrection from the dead. This made a major difference in my life.
Reading books like Colossians so grounded my thinking in Christ that after a while I could tell when something was amiss in a teaching or new way of “making life work”. It wasn’t necessary for me to have previously learned a great deal about the teaching or new way, I could just tell that it wasn’t the right way, truth, or life. It simply wasn’t “according to Christ.”
Sadly, I have seen people get pulled away from sincere and pure devotion to Christ simply because they bought into some way of thinking that was not according to Christ. A young man said to me one day that he didn’t think Christ would help him until he first tried to help himself. That statement initially sounds reasonable and noble, but it’s not according to Christ. Christ is our help because we are helpless.
Another person, shortly after becoming interested in Christianity, started to pull back from studying the Bible because someone introduced him to a “new way” of understanding Christ. It wasn’t long before he had completely abandoned all interest in the faith. He was pulled away by a teaching that wasn’t according to Christ.
In both situations, being rooted, built up, and established in the faith, according to accurate teaching of Christ, would have saved these people from much confusion and the eventual experience of walking away from the Christian faith. The important thing would not have been for them to know all the possible ways they may have been pulled away, but to have known the truth according to Christ. Knowing that truth would have been enough to help them spot, and hopefully avoid, the errors presented to them.
We may not be able to learn all the different human traditions and empty philosophies that can deceive and take us captive. But we can learn the way, the truth, and the life according to Christ. The primary way we do this is by reading the Bible. This weekend, read the entire book of Colossians and ask God to show you his Son Jesus Christ.
Please pray for our students as they participate in the Disciple Now weekend.