Read: Colossians 2:20-23
“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. ” (NIV Colossians 2:20-23)
Study: Some in Colossae taught a strongly ascetic faith: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!” It sounded wise, and drew many people. But it didn’t work. Verse 23 is hard to translate (your Bible may have a footnoted option). It said either that human willpower alone can’t make us the people God calls us to be, or that showy self-denial only feeds human pride. Either way, it reminds us that self-control is a fruit of the Spirit, not just a result of determination or will. At times, we ask you to consider “fasting,” giving up food or something else for a time to deepen your connection with God. How do spiritual practices like that differ from a faith that teaches “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? How can self-denial become a way of trusting your own will rather than the Holy Spirit? If “gritting your teeth” and using your will to single-handedly stop doing bad things “lacks any value in restraining sensual indulgence,” then how does it happen? In what ways have you seen the Spirit change your life “from the inside out”?
Pray: Holy God, it is not my will but your will that I desire. Let me lean on you and not myself in my times of need. Amen.