…that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. –Colossians 2:2-4 ESV
Bleary-eyed followers are bated and deceived by convincing arguments because they’ve forgotten that love is the point. Losing sight of Jesus removes knowledge, wisdom, and grace. People end up running circles around one another in debates. Arguing over clothing that goes out of fashion, drinks that spoil in the cup, and moments that pass with seasons. Bridges are burnt over things that die with use.
Scripture is shooting off flares to light up the night so that you will know when you’ve gotten off track. The only good ground for life is grace. Judge everything by the finished work of Jesus, not by the tablets carried off the mountain. When you are taken up by debates about convictions and traditions, take cover and run to love.
Watch out for people who try to dazzle you with big words and intellectual double-talk. They want to drag you off into endless arguments that never amount to anything. They spread their ideas through the empty traditions of human beings and the empty superstitions of spirit beings. But that’s not the way of Christ. –Colossians 2:8 MSG
Nobody wants to be around a person with their neck craned for immorality and ears perked for opportunities to police lives. Those who focus on their show of religious worth are not focusing on Jesus. She may not care if she’s welcomed among non-believers, even counting it a testament to her eternal position. She doesn’t know that her salt has lost its flavor. She’s a buried talent. A stumbling block to would-be’s.
You don’t have to go through another person to be saved. You don’t have to be like them or approved by them. There is nothing more useless than a bunch of people strutting their good deeds like badges on a sash. Immature faith says, “Look at me. Watch how holy I am.” Do they think they’re the standard? Eyes in the head, looking outward and never inward, are you so established in your premature version of “right” that you no longer need to confer with the Spirit? What a mess of pride to have the ability to hold the Holy Spirit back with your out-stretched arm as if to say, “Don’t worry, Buddy. I’ll get this one.” Like a runner on her mark, she’s waiting for another to misstep so she can correct them.
Don’t tolerate people who try to run your life, ordering you to bow and scrape, insisting that you join their obsession… They’re a lot of hot air, that’s all they are. They’re completely out of touch with the source of life, Christ… -Colossians 2:18-19 MSG
People who have the assurance of salvation give off a glow of love, gentleness, and patience. People who try to be a light end up a short-circuited neon sign with an annoying buzz. They end up a cheap replica powered by the need to be approved.
So, then, if with Christ you’ve put all that pretentious and infantile religion behind you, why do you let yourselves be bullied by it? “Don’t touch this! Don’t taste that! Don’t go near this!” Do you think things that are here today and gone tomorrow are worth that kind of attention? Such things sound impressive if said in a deep enough voice. They even give the illusion of being pious and humble and ascetic. But they’re just another way of showing off, making yourselves look important. –Colossians 2:20-23 MSG
Points to argue are plenty. The pride of pretentious religion is revolting and creates an aversion for those intersecting the path. If you want to know how to love people in practical, everyday ways, stop trying to make them replicas of yourself. You’re so preoccupied with practicing Christianity that you have completely forgotten that there is a mystery to be lost in, wisdom to roll around in, and knowledge to twist your mind.
The rules don’t save you they just keep you busy. Relying on your convictions to keep you upright is the opposite of relying on Jesus. If you deem yourself or another acceptable by their appearance, then you have traded the free life of Jesus for the slave life of the law.
Here is a bit of knowledge to blow your mind: Falling out of grace is not done by sinning, it is done by living according to a program to keep you from sinning.
I suspect you would never intend this, but this is what happens. When you attempt to live by your own religious plans and projects, you are cut off from Christ, you fall out of grace. Meanwhile we expectantly wait for a satisfying relationship with the Spirit. For in Christ, neither our most conscientious religion nor disregard of religion amounts to anything. What matters is something far more interior: faith expressed in love. –Galatians 5:4-6