COLOSSIANS 2:16-23 (NIV – UK)
Freedom from human rules
16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. 18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. 19 They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.
20 Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21 ‘Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!’? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings.23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.
For the Jews, food and drink, religious festivals and the sabbath were all very important. They were instrumental in their religious observances – in their devotion to God. But those things weren’t and end in themselves – they had a purpose. Verse 17 tells us they were ‘a shadow of the things to come’ – a shadow of what things? Of Jesus Christ: ‘the reality, however, is found in Christ.’ Now those who were continuing the religious observances after Jesus had come in the flesh were missing the point – they were a shadow – but now the reality is here.
We can’t cut ourselves off from our head without expecting to become detached from reality – that is fairly obvious. And that is true with Jesus – he is our head, and we must be joined to him (v. 19). He is the one who give us everything true – our identity, our desires, our motivation, or decisions. To be cut off from him is to be lost.
But we can all be religious in those ways in many areas of our lives – perhaps not even anything to do with spirituality – just every day things. Our dedication to a specific cause, our attachment to family tradition, maybe even our loyalty to a specific brand of tea bags. Even in the minutest detail of our lives we must remain connected to the head. Jesus wants to be in every little aspect, every little decision of our lives – yes, even down to what brand of tea bags we choose. Being connected to Jesus is allowing him to soak our lives with his Holy Spirit – so that every little nook and cranny is saturated with his wisdom. There is nothing too big or too small for our God.
Question: Do you feel connected to Jesus? Do you allow him to be the centre of every part of your life?