Don’t Waste Your Time

Scripture: Colossians 2:6-15

Key Verse: 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. (verse 8)

Observation: Paul writes to the church at Colossae to combat and refute false teachings that had arisen among the believers. In the section of the letter from this week’s lectionary, he speaks directly to the error of submitting to human tradition at the expense of Christian liberty. He says to the Colossians to not get caught up in any study or discipline that is not in accordance with Christ. (v. 8) Paul assures the Colossians that Jesus Christ has triumphed over every human ruler and authority and has granted liberty to everyone who receives him. Commentators note that Paul writes with such urgency because he doesn’t want the Colossians to begin to live their lives as though Jesus Christ has failed or that Jesus is not fully God and fully human. He wants them to live confidently based on the identity of being a follower of Jesus Christ, the Lord in whom they are rooted and built up.

Analysis: The atonement theory that I lean on the most is Cristus Victor, “the victory of Christ.” That is to say that in Jesus we have triumphed over sin, death, and all evil that would oppose the workings, teachings, and salvation of Jesus Christ. I hear Paul articulating the basis of this atonement theory in this passage and encouraging us modern-day Christians to live into the victory we have in Christ. We don’t have to win philosophical debates with people because we have the victory in Christ. We don’t have to participate in competitions that involve deceit or underhandedness because we have the victory in Christ. We don’t need to read the stars or any other elemental spirit of the universe because we have the victory in Christ. We don’t even need to have our chosen ruler or authority figure because we have the victory in Christ. We have to have faith because our Savior died on a cross and his triumph looks like failure to the rest of the world. However, the truth of the matter is that Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and ascension give us victory. Through Jesus’ salvific acts we have access to the power of God to overcome all human tradition and power structures.

Prayer: Triumphant God, we are grateful that you include us in your victory. We no longer have to engage in needless and fruitless debates or participate in meaningless pursuits. We are freed to spend our time pursuing the life and love secured by our resurrected savior. Forgive us and redirect us when we fall into traps of human tradition, pride, and ego. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

2 thoughts on “Don’t Waste Your Time

  1. Thank you Walter hope you are well. We miss you terribly. God is in control and he gave us Biden to get our attention; to warn us us of what a sinful nation we have become; we have lost our way; and we need to not waste our time on things other than our relationship with Jesus Christ . Love you, Barbara and John
    Sent from my iPhone


    1. Hi John, I am not sure how President Biden is a warning that we are a sinful nation. This nation was founded on the sin of chattel slavery. Be that as it may, I am always glad to hear from you and pray that you, Barbara, and family are well.


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