“20 Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23Such 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.” Colossians 2:20-23 NIV
Before Paul begins to unfold for us the Spirit-filled life and lifestyle, he adds this caution to his beautiful teaching on the placement as in Christ as Sons of inheritance. There is a Spirit way and a flesh way, especially about worship.
The regulations to control the flesh placed upon many in the name of Christ, do nothing to restrain the flesh. The more we think about what we should not do, the more likely we are to do it. In Galatians 5:16 Paul writes this:
“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”
The way of the Spirit is very different than our flesh-oriented thought life (which will be addressed in the coming verses). In all sincerity, we try to do the “religious thing” most of the time to please Him and get out of our mess. However, none of the how-to’s of man work for any length of time, and we end up in a deeper mess. None of these “Thou shall not” concepts can do the Spirit’s work. That is why the Law could not save. All it did was to point out sin. (The book of Romans is a treatise on this very concept). That is all this type of concentration is empowered to do.
But in the Spirit, worship, and life take on a different type of empowering – an empowering natural to the Spirit of the Lord and supernatural for and in us.
Worship is to be the adoration of the heart to our God – a deep and complete infusion into Him and His love in thankfulness and love. However, we most of the time head to worship to “feel His presence” and to receive from Him something that will help our pain. While all of that is what everyone begins with, unfortunately for us, we stay there. Instead of becoming Spiritual beings worshiping our Spirit God, we become flesh expressions of fleshly needs and dreams and hopes. We become only a sponge trying to “get” all we can, so life won’t be so hard. This is the elementary stage of Spirit life.
The understanding here in Colossians is much different. Our worship is to adore Him and thank Him with every fiber of our being – not to get something. The purpose is not to feel something either, however, when we invest our total beings in Him, that moment becomes precious beyond precious, and we are changed and charged with power beyond power. But if the focus becomes the change and the power, we will once again, miss the Spirit dimension and call.
Once again, we are caught in the flesh expression of our need instead of the Spirit knowing of our fullness. He always knows our need (or our perception of need), but if we do not get beyond this in our thinking and heart position, we will not know anything but man-made rules of behavior.
If you want to know this call, then take a few moments to allow this truth to settle into your Spirit, then turn and adore Him.
If your heart knows the call, take a few moments to respond to Him. Bless Him and allow Him to be the focus. Lord, thank you for making this section of Your word clear to us, we turn in adoration. Sweet call, sweet Jesus!