8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

While our daily lives may often seem uneventful and ordinary, this is often the case because we ignore numerous warnings about potential dangers that threaten us. We are warned to slow down in a construction zone on the highway; we are warned not to click on that email from a stranger promising us we’ve inherited a fortune from a long-lost relative; we are warned about keeping our luggage close by in the airport, lest someone mistake it for an explosive device. Some of these warnings are common sense and easy to heed. Others are new, unusual, or contrary to our preconceived ideas, and therefore require us to pause and consider the warning more seriously.

As you can see from today’s passage, Paul was convinced that there was an intentional strategy at work to derail Christians from the gospel truth. Whatever this empty, deceitful philosophy was, Paul described it as human, elementary, and not of Christ. In other words, this teaching represented man’s attempts to arrive at the truth and encouraged people to worship elements inferior to Christ. None of it was compatible with Christ. All of it was contrary to the work Jesus did on the cross.

The most serious error of the false teachers at Colossae was that they went about their spiritual lives with only natural insight. They did not go to God to learn of Him, nor did they learn from the revelation of Christ that was available to them. No wonder Paul issued such a stark warning for the church, and no wonder we, too, must heed the same warning. Are we in any way elevating our natural insight over the gospel?

• How is a rejection of God as the Creator and Authority in our lives related to rejecting the truth of the gospel?

• How have you seen this manifest in your life and the lives of others?

• Pray and ask God to help you keep focus on the truth about Him and not the philosophies of man.