A Worthless Waste of Time
Colossians 2:20–23 (ESV)
20If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations—
21“Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch”
22(referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings?
23These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.
I have discovered that hard twentieth-century people do not expect Christians to be perfect. They do not throw it in our teeth when, individually or corporately, they find less than perfection in us. They do not expect perfection, but they do expect reality; and they have a right to expect reality, upon the authority of Jesus Christ. (Francis Schaeffer)
1. Do you agree that unbelievers don’t expect Christians to be perfect, but they do expect them to be “real”? Why or why not?
2. What does Paul mean when he says that believers have “died to the elemental spirits of the world”? What does it mean “to die”? What are the “elemental spirits”?
3. How difficult is it to have a solid list of DOs and DON’Ts without trusting DOs and DON’Ts?
a. What are some DOs or DON’Ts that you have that are a necessary part of your personal sanctification that you can tend to trust and then judge other people by?
b. How can somebody have really strict (or loose!) DOs and DON’Ts and still have no control over their flesh?
4. In what way are we tempted to substitute men’s thinking for God’s?
a. In what ways are you tempted to dilute God’s thinking with men’s?
b. What are the limits of “studies” in contemporary psychology?
c. If one starts off with wrong views of God and man, how easy is it to be off when trying to come up with a solution to man’s problems?
5. Discuss the silliness of trusting what you know to be a pretend spirituality, or appearing to be to others what you know you aren’t before God. Why is it so easy to fall into that kind of trap?