22 Sep Follow Jesus. Period!
Read Colossians 2:6-15
Thought for the Day: Only Jesus is worth following!
Long has our culture had a fascination with the history of Roman gladiators. While depictions of gladiators find their way into a variety of forms, they have especially been romanticized in sword-and-sandal films like Spartacus and Gladiator. But, real life is not a movie and a gladiator’s actual life was hardly the stuff of cinema. A typical gladiator was an enslaved man forced to fight for public amusement. As 99% were captives, they could not simply drop their sword and walk out of the arena. While a few rose to fame and gained their freedom through victory in the arena, the vast majority were simply on a dead-end road.
As the Apostle Paul sat in prison for his faith, he urged the Colossian church to stay the course and follow Jesus. “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” First Century Christians were exposed to popular ideologies conflicting with Jesus’ teaching. While Jesus preached peace through trusting God, other philosophies took people’s minds captive. Christians were bombarded with worldly philosophies that led them down dead-end roads. Paul encouraged them to stop and instead follow Christ.
Today many of the same philosophies that trouble the Colossian church continue to exist. As nothing has really changed in 2000 years, each can try to take us captive, hoping we will pick up their sword in the arena. Self-help promotions seem to offer hidden truths. Hyper-partisanship seems to offer an exclusive club of ‘right’ people we can join with. And of course, these are only two of many forces attempting to lead us on dead-end roads.
Fortunately, We don’t need to search for a secret way or join an exclusive club in order to be happy. Instead, as Paul taught us, we can figuratively quit walking down dead-end roads and instead follow Jesus!
Pastors Stan and David