“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.” (Colossians 2:8)
Paul’s words to the Church at Colossi sound as if they were written to the modern Church. The Church in the 21st Century has in many ways has been captivated by the philosophies and worldview of our modern culture. Although the false teaching that had infiltrated the church at Colossi was a jumble of Jewish law, Greek philosophy and mysticism, such an unholy mixture glorified human strength and autonomy. It proclaimed the power of humans to control their own destiny. The false teaching at Colossi considered Jesus as a demigod or lesser type of divinity. Humans could work to become like him, demigods as well or godlike through a process of meditation, philosophy, and works of self-denial. In this way one could attain secret knowledge that brought them to the upper echelon of spiritual enlightenment.
This false teaching dominates our contemporary culture and is propagated through the media. This is why we have such unrest and acrimony for each individual claims to be autonomous and, therefore, always right about everything, always entitled to live life as each pleases. Such thinking has even infiltrated the Church. Many denominations, independent churches, and church leaders now teach philosophy as religion, a religion which centers not on Christ and what He has done for sinful humanity, but which exalts the individual’s ability to attain spiritual perfection. Such thinking has influenced many believers to forget the whole reason for faith in Christ in the first place: we all were imperfect and flawed sinners who had never been able to achieve such perfection on our own. We were all alienated from God, unable to make ourselves right or good.
Paul brings us back to our true focus and our head, Jesus. On the cross, He performed the ultimate act of unselfishness by dying for us, we who were alienated from God without any hope of ever achieving oneness with Him no matter what we did. We cannot abandon faith by adopting the useless ways and methods that our world offers. They only enslave us and give us a false sense of security that leads us away from the will and purpose of the Lord. We must be alert to the false wisdom of this world. True wisdom humbly leads us to surrender our lives to Christ.