Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Vision vs. Gospel - Colossians 2:18-19

"delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God." (Colossians 2:18-19)
Paul is talking of those who would seek to judge us as disqualified for the prize we seek. Most often, their judgment is based on the fact that we don't follow them or do religion like they do. They have an inflated sense of themselves and believe that their way is the right way, the only right way. Everyone who follows them is right and everyone else is disqualified.

One of the marks of such men and women is their stand on things spiritual. They have a disproportionate interest in angels, dreams, visions, and visitations. To be sure, God at times, will use such means and methods but always in an attempt to draw us closer to Himself. Many years ago there was a television show called "Touched by an angel." While there was some questionable theology in the show, when the actual message was delivered by the "angels" it was always in God's name and it served to turn the attention of the hearer to God not to the angles. However, these men and women use the spiritual to turn our attention towards them. They see themselves as being spiritual and all who are spiritual ought to acknowledge their (superior) spirituality as well.

The problem with such people, besides their attempt to judge and control us, is that they substitute vision for revelation. They become more infatuated with visions, dreams, and the like then they are with the Gospel message delivered to us by Christ through His apostles. To them, everything that glitters is gold, or everything that is spiritual is divine. However, Peter reminds us that, "we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts." (2 Peter 1:19) They are like those who feed on chaff while tossing away the grain.

Sometimes I think myself not too clever for, after all, all I do is teach and expound upon the words of other men; no new revelation, no new thoughts, just (hopefully) an explanation of the teachings of Christ that is easy to understand and apply to our lives. Vision, dreams, and angel messages are great but they must always server to return us to the message of God and to the one who came to deliver that message to us. These men and women have let go of the head. They have traded Jesus for things supernatural. They have substituted visions for Gospel.

Our growth, and the growth of the body, is predicated upon our connection to the head. As long as we are connected to the head, we receive life from the body and are joined together with other members in a common will and purpose, but if we let go of the head, then the life in the body dries up and we lose our reason for our association with the body. The body becomes dismembered and dies.

This question we must ask ourselves, "Is Jesus enough for us?" Is His message enough instruction, encouragement, and enlightenment for us? Is there something lacking in what we have received from Christ or have we found that, in our relationship with the head, we have received all things, even the very Kingdom of God? If we have God living inside of us, what more do we have need of?

David Robison

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