God’s Guiding Word: Discipleship
Colossians 2:20—3:4: In today’s reading, Paul reminds the Colossians that they have been “set free from the ruling spirits of the universe” because they have “died with Christ” (2:20) and have been “raised to life with Christ” (3:1). Thus, they are to set their hearts and minds on the things of heaven, putting aside earthly desires. What he says about obeying certain rules is a continuation of the preceding statements in 2:16–19 from yesterday’s reading and may refer to false religious practices and to Jewish Christians who were trying to convince the Colossians to follow the Jewish laws pertaining to food and drink.
20 You have died with Christ and are set free from the ruling spirits of the universe. Why, then, do you live as though you belonged to this world? Why do you obey such rules as 21 “Don’t handle this,” “Don’t taste that,” “Don’t touch the other”? 22 All these refer to things which become useless once they are used; they are only human rules and teachings. 23 Of course such rules appear to be based on wisdom in their forced worship of angels, and false humility, and severe treatment of the body; but they have no real value in controlling physical passions.
3 You have been raised to life with Christ, so set your hearts on the things that are in heaven, where Christ sits on his throne at the right side of God. 2 Keep your minds fixed on things there, not on things here on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 Your real life is Christ and when he appears, then you too will appear with him and share his glory!
Today’s Key Verse: Colossians 3:4
Your real life is Christ and when he appears, then you too will appear with him and share his glory!
What is your understanding of Paul’s statements to the Colossians that they have “died with Christ” (2:20) and “have been raised to life with Christ” (3:1) and that one should avoid living as though one belongs to this world and instead set one’s heart on the things that are in heaven? In his letters, Paul often wrote about the day when Jesus would return, and verses 2:20 and 3:4 may reflect this view (see 1 Corinthians 1:8; 15:20–28; Philippians 1:6, 3:20–21; 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18). In 2:21–23, what does Paul say about obeying certain rules? Are any rules observed within your community of faith? What are they?
Dear Jesus, I thank you that I have been raised to life with you and that, when you appear, I will share your glory. Keep me steadfast in faith and help me to follow you and do what is pleasing in your sight. Amen.
Psalm 72: A prayer for the king.