See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.
The Apostle Paul is challenging all of these strangled formulas and philosophies. He stands as God’s appointed Apostle, right in the middle of the crossfire between Gnostics, Judaizers, and philosophers, all of which are trying to demonstrate superiority over the others.
Paul says, in order to walk in a relationship with God, it doesn’t need to be this profound or tangled. Just have faith in Jesus Christ. Living a spiritual life is not a secret knowledge revealed only to a select few, as the Gnostics would suggest. It is not an intellectual sport where we compete against each other to see who is more spiritually superior, as the philosophers believed. It is not about abiding by a set of rules and laws that have nothing to do with the human heart, as the Judaizers believed.
Paul says that it is much simpler. God extended this spiritual pathway to us, first appearing in a manger in Bethlehem. Paul says, you don’t have to worry about this philosophical, intellectual entanglement. Just have faith in Jesus Christ. Paul’s definition that comes behind that is this: “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9 KJV).
Believing in Jesus, trusting confidently in His work in you, and imitating Christ’s example is what it means to walk in faith.
The Colossian church accepted Jesus and had faith in Him. As a result, they were under attack by the culture that existed around them—these intellectual philosophies and practices. These Gnostics, philosophers, and Judaizers so despise these Christ followers that they became aggressive enough to arrest the Colossian church with the intent to kill them.
Paul writes to center the saints: You know what you have been taught and you know what you believe. You know how important this faith is. It is not time for you to hide in the shadows. It is time for you to live out of the substance of His presence. In order to do that, you are going to have to kick your faith into high gear. Don’t get fooled into these fake spiritual practices.
When we have the conviction that we know that He who hath begun a good work will be faithful to complete it, we won’t settle for a type of spirituality that is less than what faith in Christ has to offer us. Everything about our lives is to center us more deeply in Jesus so that he can spread us higher and wider for Him.