By: Zach Collins
He brushed his teeth twice a day and he went to the doctor religiously – twice a year he followed through with a check-up. In favor of snack cakes, he treated himself to fruit. When it snowed outside, he always made sure to wear his boots.
He stuck to the proper diet. With great inspection, he overanalyzed every label on every product he digested. He identified all the fats – poly and unsaturated – and every other ingredient that might injure his body. He walked, jogged, and worked out at the local health club.
He slept eight hours a day. He never smoked, drank, used substances, or lost his temper. He prepared to live to be 100 years old.
His funeral will be held on Wednesday. He was only 53 years old. He is survived by 10 specialists – 4 health institutions – 6 gymnasiums – and a host of food manufacturers.
He followed all the rules and imposed upon himself the strictest of standards. He did everything he was told to do to live a long life – work, exercise, and eat healthy – but he still failed in attaining his goal of living a long life. He sought to be complete in this world.
Paul wrote, in Colossians 2:8-10, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.”
Paul says, “…you are complete in Him…” The word “complete”, in the original Greek, is “plēroō”, meaning to be “complete” or “perfect.” As God supplies all our needs according to His riches (c.f., Philippians 4:19), and as we are filled with the fruits of righteousness (c.f., Philippians 1:11), so also are we complete in Christ Jesus. However, it is often the case that the simplicity we enjoy in Christ is often blurred by the things of this world. In Colossians 2, Paul warns us of certain things that can lead us astray from the simplicity that belongs in Christ.
Philosophy conceals the simplicity in Christ (v. 8). Philosophy is searching, but never finding. While philosophy is often captivating, in our pursuit we can become captive to the empty deception of men and remain in the elementary principles of the world. Philosophy does not advance man but keeps us infantile in our knowledge of Christ.
External religion conceals the simplicity in Christ (v. 16). Those of the time placed great emphasis upon what they ate, the festivals, and the Sabbath. They were all shadows to which the substance belonged to Christ. Circumcisions, washings, and traditions were all externals that had no bearing on the internal. If Christ, the substance, is here you do not need the rituals.
Mysticism conceals the simplicity in Christ (v. 18). The worship of angels, vows of poverty, forbidding to marry, secret revelations and visions are all forms of fraud that rob you of what you already have in Jesus Christ. Seek not to exalt yourself, but to exalt Christ Jesus.
Praise God that we can find completeness in simplicity, not complexity, in Christ Jesus. Let us put away the things of this world that conceal the simplicity in Christ so that we might stand complete, plēroō, in all the will of God (c.f., Colossians 4:12).
Meditate on these things.
January 10th, 2024