As I was meditating and praying recently about what God would like me to share in an upcoming ministry opportunity, I received two scripture references, although it was, initially, not entirely clear just which book was being referenced. I got the references 3:1 and 2:8 and vaguely seemed to think they were in Colossians, or perhaps Philippians or Corinthians. When I looked them up, the only book in which the two verses made sense, juxtaposed with each other, was Colossians, so I knew that was the correct reference.
Referencing them in the new The Voice translation, Colossians 3:1 says “So it comes down to this; since you have been raised with the Anointed One, the Liberating King, set your mind on Heaven above. The Anointed is there, seated at Gods’ right hand.” Colossians 2:8, using the same translation, says “Make sure no predator makes you his prey through some misleading philosophy and empty deception based on traditions fabricated by mere mortals.”
Taking the two together, the message is pretty clear to me, that we should keep our focus on Christ rather than any doctrine or teaching of men. It is easy to be attracted to a popular or highly publicized revival, preacher, or teacher, and want to be a part of what God appears to be doing in or through that person, event, or organization. There is certainly nothing wrong with wanting to be a part of what God is doing – it seems to me that we SHOULD want that, if we are sincere in our discipleship! However, we need to be cautious and test any new or popular teaching or movement to be sure it lines up with God’s word, in Jesus and His written word, the Bible. Our enemy is the father of lies, a deceiver, and a lion prowling to kill, steal, and destroy – these truths are quite clearly stated in Scripture, more than once. He delights in leading people astray through deceptions that seem to be good and make sense, if we use only our own minds and human logic to test them.
A deviation from the true path initially can seem quite small and insignificant, but as we travel further down that road, becomes more and more apart from the direction we intended to take. We need to frequently check ourselves to be sure we are keeping our focus on Christ and God’s revealed Word so we are not being made prey to the deceits of the enemy. The catchy phrase “What would Jesus do?”, which was very popular a few years back, is still apt, but we also need to check Scripture to be assured that we are on the true path. Jesus is at God’s right hand and everything he ever did or taught was and is in perfect alignment with the will of the Father. We must make every effort to be sure that is true of us as well! When we focus on Jesus, we see God, and the Scripture confirms that. When we are focused on Him, we are less likely to be swayed into misleading philosophies or deceptions based on merely human ideas and logic.
Father God, help us to keep our focus on Jesus. When teachings or philosophies come before us, guide our eyes, minds, and spirits to seek Your Word and Your Spirit to test them before we follow, no matter how much it seems to make sense at first glance. Show us when the enemy’s deceptions are presented, however attractively, so that we see where they lead us away from Your truth. As we focus on Jesus, help us to see more and more of Your character through him, and help us to model ourselves after his likeness, in all that we do. In His holy and precious name we pray, Amen.