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.
I don’t think I could pick a clearer verse in all the Bible to share with every young person growing up in church than this one. Children ages 8 to 18 spend on average 6-7.5 hours/day in front of a screen. The average American is now bombarded with more than 34 GB (gigabytes) of information on a daily basis, which would completely fill up the highest storage capacity iPhone in two weeks. And buried within those trillions of ones and zeros are certain philosophies and empty deceits…almost all of it according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
Obviously, the Word of God is still relevant today.
(The introduction below is largely taken from Pastor Chuck Swindoll’s commentary on Colossians)
(Here is a great video overview from the Bible Project)
In AD 60–61, during his first imprisonment in Rome, Paul penned this letter to the Colossian church after he had received a report that they were struggling with a Christological heresy (who Christ is). The report came from Epaphras, likely the leader of the church at Colossae and a convert of Paul’s from his more than two-year ministry in Ephesus. Epaphras had come to Rome in part to serve Paul during his imprisonment (Philemon 1:23) but also to confide in him regarding the dangerous teachings the Colossians were hearing. So, Paul sent this letter, along with the letters to Philemon and to the Ephesians, with Tychicus, accompanied by Onesimus (Colossians 4:7; Philemon 1:10–12). Tychicus was a coworker of Paul who would have been able to help the Colossian believers understand and apply the apostle’s teachings in the letter.
Though Paul had never been to the church itself, he addressed these issues head-on. The nature of Jesus Christ as Creator and Redeemer was nonnegotiable, so Paul wrote to them that he might bring his wisdom to bear on this difficult and trying situation. It was critical to him that this church know God in His greatness and glory, rather than in the deficient view given them by the false teachers (Colossians 1:25; 2:1–2). Although the “false teachers” of today may not be speaking about Christ directly, they are most certainly “teaching” a worldview contrary to His very being.
Your view of Jesus Christ will impact every area of your life. Many today want only practical instruction and helps for living, eschewing “esoteric” topics such as doctrine and theology because they seem to be out of touch with their day-to-day reality. Paul’s view was different. He saw that the Christological problems in the Colossian church had practical importance as well. Believers have died with Christ; therefore, we need to die to our sins. We have also been raised with Christ; therefore, we must live well in Him and put on qualities that are motivated by Christian love. And because He is Lord over all, the life of the Christian is a life of submission to Jesus.
Are you following after Jesus as you should? Our faith in Jesus Christ should transform the relationships we have in every area of our lives—in our homes, our churches, and our world. In the coming weeks we will put ourselves to the test as we venture through Colossians!