2009-09-10 - Deceptive Thoughts
Col 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. (NASB)
A few lines earlier Paul had commended the Colossians on their discipline and stability in their faith. But even to these christians, living in their day when the difference between godly and godless were often so brutally clear, subtilty was still woven into the fabric of every day life. Paul warned them to keep their minds ready against hollow arguments. Is this warning any less pertinent today than in Paul's day? It seems completely relevant to me. Whether it was the Roman government of the early church or the anti-God, anti-Christian mind that pervades the thought of our modern world, it is dangerous. Seemingly reasonable arguments can be full of hollow, meaningless words. These thoughts can come from politicians, educators, scientists and pulpits alike. They can be well-meant and heart-felt, or an outright lie.
What is first line of the defense? It's the same kind of disciplined and stable faith that Paul commended in the Colossian church.
Col 2:6-7 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. (NASB)
Phrases like "firmly rooted" and "built up" implies Bible reading and study. Regular attendance is a start. I've heard the complaint from young men and women that sitting through a sermon is like sitting in class at school. Well, they're right. Jesus told Martha that her sister Mary had chose the better part in sitting at His feet while Jesus taught. Sermons or a small group Bible study are places to learn the truth. Not truth like 2+2=4. That is indeed a real mathematical truth. Why is it true? Why is it always true? It is true because God created the world and the universe with order. Do stars burn out? Do galaxies collide? Is this disorder? It is the order of creation based on physics that include nuclear fusion and gravity. The order of mathematics and science reflect a truth in the nature of God. But the full nature of God is Truth. Truth as in the foundation or core from which other truths are supported. If anything contradicts or distorts that Truth, it is in opposition to God. We must learn this just as we had to learn our math, language and science as we grew up in order to survive in this world.
Col 2:9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, 10 and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; (NASB)
If you are asked a question, or are asking a question and you are troubled enough to ask if something is right or wrong, then take the time to fairly and honestly think it through. That troubled sense is a warning sign. Back your thinking up with scripture. If you need help, ask a parent, an Elder or Pastor or a trusted friend who is a mature believer. There are many debatable things that are not worth arguing over. When someone says to you that a christian shouldn't eat this or that, or shouldn't do this or that - there are times when it is obvious. Lying: Thou shalt not bear false witness. No cheese fries: If your doctor has warned you about your cholesterol that's one thing. However the Bible is mute on the topic of cheese fries. The closest thoughts would be 1 Cor 10:27-29.
A political commentator shared an interesting story. She was assigned to report on a particular speech. Her expectations were not high at the start, but as she listened she became excited about what was being said. Her excitment continued as she hurried to pull down the text copy of the speech to evaluate it as soon as it was available. As she read and made notes her excitement turned to disappointment because the words, spoken with eloquence and passion, had said nothing. She had been caught up in the applause and the "fair sounding words" (aka. empty deception). This is an individual with years of experience in the political arena. If someone of that caliber can be deceived, then we should all be on our guard.
1 Peter 5:8-10 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. 10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. (NASB)
Lord Jesus - Open our hearts and and minds to Your truth given to us in your Word. Teach us to guard our hearts and minds. Amen.
Grace & Peace,