Legalism - Lethal Laws - Colossians 2:16-23
June 27, 2022, 9:00 AM

Legalism - Lethal Laws - Colossians 2:16-23


16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. 18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. 19 He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow. 20 Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 21 "Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"? 22 These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.


I bought a book called, "Games Christians Play" written by Judi Culbertson and Patti Bard. In a humorous and satirical way, they show how some Christians play religious mind games which keep them from a vital real relationship with Christ or with other Christians. The goal is seeking attention, finding excuses, or wanting sympathy. Let me give you an example. illustration is “My Bible is more underlined than yours.” One only needs colored pencils or a pen and underline more passages in his Bible and conveniently show his neighbor how holy he is by the outward impression of study. It didn’t make any difference how much he learned, but that he looked the part of a Bible student and compared himself to others so he can be in his mind, “the winner”.


The Apostle Paul used to be very good at those religious mind games. Before his own conversion he out did most people to show he was more holy. Maybe that was why he recognized it so quickly when the Gnostics were trying to get the church plant of Colossae to play some of these religious games along with false doctrine. Paul warned the church against it. I dare say, we need to look at ourselves closely lest we become Christian game players when it comes to our relationship with the Lord and others.

There are lots of games religious people can play to make them appear as if they are winning in spiritual pride competition. That is the subject of this week’s devotionals from the above passage.


Application: Do you recognize religious games in others? Can you recognize it in yourself when you are trying to excuse or impress others with your piety?

Prayer: Lord God, give me the grace and authenticity to be real in all circumstances. As I live and abide in your Word, may that intimacy carry through in my relationships.