False "spiritual" paths
The path to maturity is riddled with detours. Since our lives don’t travel a perfectly straight course, the detours sometimes look like the correct path. Paul encouraged the Colossian believers to rely on Christ for both their salvation and maturity:
Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
After showing them the path to maturity, Paul gives the Colossians a specific warning about the kinds of ideas that will try to sway them away from the truth. These ideas, and their sources, need to be carefully considered.
Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elemental forces of the world, and not based on Christ.
Philosophy is a love of wisdom. Notice that Paul isn’t saying that all philosophy is bad. Instead, he is warning the Colossians that they need to be fully aware of a philosophy’s foundation. If the wisdom we love is not based upon Christ, then we are loving an empty idol.
However, this false-philosophy idol isn’t necessarily powerless. In fact, Paul says that those whose teachings are not based on Christ will try to take you captive. The Greek word for captive is a strong term that means to carry away, just like thief steals loot. The thief takes what is valuable away from its proper place and carries it off to where it doesn’t belong. Similarly, a philosophy based on human tradition will also do to us…it will carry us off to beliefs that are not Christ-like.
There are many false teachings around today that claim to show us how to become more “spiritual”; however, the best remedy has always been to rely on God’s Word alone to know what is pleasing to God. Throughout the pages of Scripture, God has revealed that a “spiritual” person is someone who is like Christ. Do we trust God enough to let Him make us Christ-like? Or do we feel like we need to add other influences?
When we feel the need to add other influences besides God, what we’re really saying comes down to one of three options:
We think God might miss something that will make us into the person we were made to be.
We believe that some other philosophy will be an acceptable short-cut to where God would eventually take us.
We just really like this other idea, and we’ll convince ourselves that God agrees with it.
As we navigate the path we’re on, we need to be certain that our philosophy, traditions, and driving forces in our lives are based on Christ. To have any other foundation shows that either we’re not carefully considering the path we’re on, or that we’d don’t fully trust God with our lives in the here and now.