Nice-sounding ideas about God
We don’t like the feeling of “not knowing”. We try to figure out a story’s plot and guess who the villain is long before it is revealed. Riddles bother us if we don’t get them right away. Not satisfied with the information we’re given, we often look deeper, expecting to find people’s hidden agenda or motivations.
We are bothered the most when we don’t understand our current circumstances – when bad things happen to (seemingly) good people, when natural disasters ravage the land, or when nothing in life goes as we expect. The desire to find meaning and understanding within the difficulties of life can make a person desperate enough that they listen to almost anyone who claims to have an answer or explanation.
This uneasiness is often preyed upon by other philosophies and religions. They will claim that someone must go through their secret ritual initiation before they are accepted. They claim that God is mysteriously distant or uninterested, unless we make ourselves good enough and devoted enough to get his attention. Preying upon people’s feelings of inadequacy, they claim that only a select few – only those with secret knowledge – could understand the mysteries of God.
While their words may sound like help…they will actually take you hostage.
Paul had the same concern for the believers in Colossae. He did not want their relationship with Christ to be usurped by manipulative teachers. As you read Paul’s warning against these false teachers, look for how the Colossian believers are to protect themselves:
I want their hearts to be encouraged and joined together in love, so that they may have all the riches of assured understanding, and have the knowledge of God’s mystery – Christ. In Him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden. I am saying this so that no one will deceive you with persuasive arguments.
A little later, Paul warns them again:
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. For in Him the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily, and you have been filled by Him, who is the head over every ruler and authority.
There are tons of nice-sounding ideas about God that are floating around the world. Since most people understand that there is a spiritual aspect to life, many of these nice-sounding ideas pop up in our day-to-day conversations.
How do we combat them all? We can’t realistically study each one and find “the perfect rebuttal” to every philosophy and theory that comes along. Instead, Paul directs believers to focus all of their attention back to one person – Christ. In Jesus, we will find all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Not in the next Christian-living best-selling novel.
Not in the next formula for how to make God answer your prayers.
Not in the next preacher who claims to heal everyone who has “enough faith”.
Remember that Satan quoted Scripture when he tempted Jesus. Therefore, just being able to quote Scripture isn’t enough to protect us from false teachers. Instead, we need to heed Paul’s advice and ensure that our wisdom, our knowledge, and our philosophy of life are based on Christ.
That is the check we need to use. When presented with a nice-sounding concept about God, take an objective look at it, and ask:
Does this idea match up with who Jesus truly is…or is this idea based on a person’s tradition or maybe even their own wishful thinking?