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True Growth is Found in Christ

18 Let no one condemn you by delighting in ascetic practices and the worship of angels, claiming access to a visionary realm. Such people are inflated by empty notions of their unspiritual mind. 19 They don’t hold on to the head, from whom the whole body, nourished and held together by its ligaments and tendons, grows with growth from God. (Colossians 2:18-19)


Continuing on the theme of having freedom and fullness in Christ, Paul shares that believers do not need to, as Max Anders says, “be drawn into the quest for exciting experiences.” The Gnostics, the false teachers, were stating that in order to be a true believer, one had to have a special revelation. They encouraged followers to go on spiritual pilgrimages to hopefully have a mystical vision. In verse 18, Paul encourages the believers to stand fast, saying, “Let no one condemn you by delighting in ascetic practices and the worship of angels, claiming access to a visionary realm.” These false teachers were claiming that one had to be very self-disciplined in worshipping the angels, and that, eventually, the angels would allow them to enter heaven and see God. Then, after such an experience, they would return back with a claim that they had “access to a visionary realm.” Paul counters back, stating that “such people are inflated by empty notions of their unspiritual mind.” In the pursuit of being “spiritual,” the people that follow such practices stray further and further from the true source of growth, Christ.


Paul further explains in verse 19 by giving an illustration of Christ as the Head of our lives, “they don’t hold on to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and held together by its ligaments and tendons, grows with growth from God.” By seeking out these false spiritual experiences, the false teachers lose sight of Christ and put Him second, instead of where He should be positioned, first as the Head. By doing so, they stunt their own growth. Christ states that He is the vine and we are the branches, and that if we remain in Him, we will grow and produce fruit. We see this in John 15:4-5, “Remain in me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me.” May we remain attached and focused on Christ, the true source of life and growth, not being distracted by false spiritualism and the fantastical. “Christ is central. Not rules. Not experiences.” In Christ alone.


Blessings,

Isaac De Guzman

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