Listening Cautiously

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“Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. They have 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.” Colossians 2:18-19 NIV

There are folk in the body of Christ who choose to cling to legalism, believing it to be the “safe” way. They adopt all kinds of practices from the Old Covenant and use them to become what they think will please people. They look spiritual, talk spiritual (in their own minds) but their humility is self-made. The KJV says “voluntary humility” in this place. Meaning they are making it happen. It looks good and has the wisdom of man attached. You know the teaching that tells us if you think you are humble, you have just lost it? Well, that is not the word at all. You see, from our Lord’s point of view, humility is an attribute of Himself that He gives to every believer. It is not something we create by the way we behave or speak. To truly be humble, we are to receive what the Lord says about us – instead of the “worm theology” of the religious world of Christianity.

The Lord Jesus has given us Himself. That means that as we willingly learn from His hand how to live and respond to life, we are as He is. To be humble means to be constantly leaning into Him. No pride is there and no arrogance. This we must learn.

These folk also worship angels, and the text implies they have seen the angels they worship. I do believe it is consistent with and in the Word to “see” angels, however, when adoration or special devotion is given to them, if they are God’s angels, they will refuse it. For an angel to receive worship tells us they are not our Lord’s angels. So immediately this person is trying to sway you into what is untrue.

The next part is about how they treat others. The Word says, “Do not let anyone …disqualify you.” The word “disqualify” here could also read, “put you down,” or “make you feel small and unimportant.” It has the sense of judging you and making you feel you really have not arrived – yet. Such an attempt is out arrogance and not of the Spirit we live in and belong to.

So the entire verse is trying to warn us about people who do these things – they can capture our hearts and we then begin to join in and become as legalistic as they are — or worse. Out of our sincere desire to “know Him better,” we can become very bound by our own behavior. This legalistic attitude will miss the person of Jesus because He is just not that way.

Verse 19 tells us the people doing these things are no longer attached to the Head of the Body, and therefore are not growing in Him properly like the Body He is growing. That is a sweet thing to know. The Lord is Himself growing us into what we need to be. He does this after we are a part of His body and it is Him doing it. We just corporate by loving, listening, following, and receiving. It is out of those things that we flow and become.

Thank you, Lord, for your love for each one of us and for your taking on the responsibility to grow us into yourself. You lead us and You guide us into all truth and allow us to study your heart, your Word, your very breath. Give us great discernment to know what we are listening to – life – or some form of legalism. Thank you!

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