“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” — Colossians 2:8 (NIV)
Now the battle lines are defined. Paul clearly stated that the battle of every age is between everything of this world and Christ. What was Paul’s concern? His concern was that we would be taken captive (lose the battle) because we succumbed to the “hollow and deceptive philosophies, which depend on human traditions and the basic principles of this world.” You see, the things of this world are not inherently bad. God created all things good. But, since sin entered the world, we have lost a clear understanding of our origin and life’s purpose. In a quest for the answer to these important questions, we begin and end with ourselves. As the definer of traditions and principles, we will be taken captive. This sinful world, by itself, deceives us and leads us into “hollow” philosophies. They seem to have substance from the outside but are empty and powerless to provide the answers to life’s crucial questions.
So, how do we gain a proper understanding of this world and the life we live in it? Paul believed the answer is in Jesus Christ. He believed and asserted in all of his writings that Jesus alone provides a clear understanding of life, its problems, and the answers to its problems. Jesus’ words are not deceptive and hollow, but rather they are truth-filled with depth and meaning. One is not brought into captivity by heeding Jesus’ words but is actually released from bondage and set free. Jesus said, “If the Son sets you free, you are free indeed” (John 8) Jesus told Pilate in John 18, “for this reason I was born and for this reason I came into the world; that I might testify to the truth.”
If you are lost and confused about the statements that our world makes about life on this planet, know that you are not alone. If you want to leave those hollow and deceptive philosophies, turn to Jesus and listen to His Word. Get to know Him and His great love for you. Sit at His feet and let Him answer the questions that weigh your spirit down. I pray that His words set you free!