Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 15, 2021

Foolish Rules

“You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires. Colossians 2:20-23” (NLT)

If you’re a rule follower like me, you get deep satisfaction from doing things the “right way”—especially if there is a set of regulations and protocols to follow. Sure, there’s an internal guidance in this regard, but when you know others can see you follow the rules, well, that’s all the better.

In Paul’s letter to the Colossians, he’s warning this sweet fellowship of false teaching creeping into the church. A big issue was aestheticism, or self-denial, which was thought to free the spirit from the “evil body”, leading to deeper “spirituality” and a closer relationship to God. And this practice, according to those wolves, also allowed other people to see how spiritual you are, because your physical suffering was so evident.

Hmm, makes me think of Jesus saying the exact opposite to His disciples…how we are to give and fast in secret—not flaunting it for the accolades of others (see Matthew 6). So, the irony of this aestheticism teaching is that it appears spiritual and humble on the outside, while simultaneously being the height of vanity. (“Look at me! Watch me suffer! Aren’t I so amazingly spiritual?!”) Plus, just because a person does things to “look” spiritual and pure, their actual state of spiritual affairs could be pretty darn filthy. In the end, it’s all about “me” and not the Lord. (Again, Jesus talked a lot about this concept when it came to the Pharisees—whitewashed tombs and such.)

As followers of Jesus Christ, we’ve been set free from manmade rules that promote “spirituality” and create a sort of system to earn salvation. No to-do lists, no columns of “good” versus “bad” tallies, no hoops to jump through. On Calvary’s cross, Jesus accomplished what we could not, exchanging our sin for His righteousness. He paid it all—all we have to “do” is accept this amazing gift of grace.

And once we say “yes” to salvation, we’re made complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10)—we become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Then, in grateful response, we walk according to our new character. We extend forgiveness, mercy, grace, and love because Jesus extended these things to us—not so that He will. When we do stumble (because we will), He is quick to forgive us when we ask (1 John 1:9). (No to-do list there, either—can I get an “Amen!” from my former confession-goers?) So, let’s abandon any foolish rules we may be following to please God. It’s not do—it’s done.

“Lord, in gratefulness for my salvation, I surrender my life to Your will and Your ways. Thank You for accomplishing what I could not.”


For His Glory

Julianne Winkler Smith
TRBC Women’s Life




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