The Things We Do, Think, & Say

Colossians Bible Study Day 7 of 14

Read Colossians 2:16-23

16 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. 17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. 18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions,[a] puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

20 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— 21 “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” 22 (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? 23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

Colossians 2:16-23 (NIV)

Why do we do the things that we do?

Is it because of habit?

Tradition?

Why do we put candles on birthday cakes? Why can’t you publicly talk about Texas A&M without people yelling “WHOOP!” at you? How come you open the same app every time you use your phone?

These are trivial examples, but there are religious habits and traditions too.

Why do you say the same prayer every day before dinner? Is “God works in mysterious ways” really a beneficial thing to say to those who are grieving? Are you really sorry for your actions or do you just not know what to say?

God cares about our lives. He wants them to be meaningful and full of purpose. He wants us to experience life’s pleasures and to enjoy His creation, not just live our lives following cultural standards. Let us put an end to meaningless traditions and regulations, which Paul refers to as the basic principles (some versions say “elemental spirits”) of this world. Let’s stop indulging in these actions because they are based on human tradition and not on Jesus.

How do we do this? How do we turn our habits, especially our good ones, into something of substance?

It requires a mind shift.

Start with your meal-time prayer. Praying is common, but it is also sacred. You are talking with the Ruler of all the powers and authorities on Earth (2:10). Savor it and pray more often, not just at meal times.

“God works in mysterious ways.” Yes, He does, but our hurt loved-ones don’t need a well meant truism; they need shelter and refuge. You know God; so provide for them (Psalm 91:2; Hebrews 3:6). 

We should be thinking about the things we do, think, and say, so we are not participating in meaningless activities. We do this because all habits and traditions are destined to fail at bringing meaning to our lives if they are based on human commands and teachings. Please, don’t waste your time with them. Instead focus on regaining your connection with God.

Diving Deeper

Is there a habit you need to stop? Or perhaps a habit you need to bring meaning to? Dwell on it, make a plan, and we will revisit it at the end of this study. If you cannot think of one ask a close friend or significant other.

Go ahead and read over tomorrow’s devotional. It’s short, and you might need to prepare for it.

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