Journal Col 2 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face that their hearts may be encouraged (being knit together in love) to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery which is Christ (in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge).
I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. For though I am absent in body yet I am with you in spirit—rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.
Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, so walk in Him: rooted and built up in Him, and established in the faith (just as you were taught), abounding in thanksgiving. 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.” Col 2:1-8
Observation: It appears that Paul continues his way with the churches by pointing to opposition to the Gospel: recognize the false way and; embrace the doctrine of the Gospel—it is richer than we can imagine.
Application: I wonder how it is that I get snuck up upon.
I think that I have this old world figured out against the Gospel and then….I find a sneaky tentacle wrapped around my heart and mind. Was this always there or was it gone and found its way back? Did it just get suppressed and went dormant waiting for a time when it could grow in somewhat fertile ground? (Note to the side: I probably need to remember that for something to grow it needs fertile conditions, whether fruit of the flesh or of the spirit. What do I habitually cultivate?)
Planting sound doctrine isn’t easy. Paul struggled on the behalf of the church at Philippi and Laodicea concerning planting sound doctrine. He saw or was reported to be concerned with “plausible arguments” occurring at these churches.
“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit…” What philosophy? Does it have a name? I don’t know. What is meant by “empty deceit?” I don’t know that one, either. My guess is that either one is probably related to moving away from the simplicity of my sin that Jesus atoned for to something that calls for me to add to Jesus’ work by some kind of self-atonement. (This can be etched out in an equation: Jesus’s atonement plus my work of self-atonement equals an assured acceptance by God versus Jesus’ atonement plus nothing equals an assured acceptance by God when it is acknowledged and acted upon in faith. First one is false, the second is true.)
I was doing devotions with my wife this morning. As is my conviction, I practiced transparency with my struggles—yep, I told her I had struggles and what they were. I applaud her for her patience with me because it was an effort to get a coherent sentence out of my mouth. The conflict within is tremendous.
This is where being rooted and built up in Christ, in the doctrine of the Gospel (and indeed all the various doctrines) is valuable. Without these foundations to draw upon, to be rooted in, I would be a perfect example of Dorothy spinning up in the tornado (The Wizard of Oz, Baum). If I let or expose myself to be drawn by the forces of delusion….well, phooey—I don’t want that.
Given the options, I would rather be found rooted and grounded in Christ. That takes effort and intention, not only in my pursuit of the presence of God, the embrace of His Word, but also in the activities found in biblical friendship and fellowship.
Prayer: Hi there, Father. Thank You for calling me, drawing me, choosing me when all I wanted to do was to resist You. You enlivened my heart to the Gospel and nothing has ever been the same. Thank You for Your promise to complete a good work in me—I don’t deserve this and I never will. Make me a fit tool for Your hand. Help me to abound in good works; help me to see You everywhere with opened eyes, hearing ears, and a ready, soft heart that You can plant Your word into. AMEN.