In “Walking with Jesus” Part 1 we talked about how easy it is for us to not feel “Rooted, Built Up, and Established.” In the next verse it gives us some insight as to why this is difficult:
Philosophy and Empty Deception: What do you think of when you see the words “Philosophy and Empty Deception?” This doesn’t mean Jesus doesn’t want you to go to college and learn philosophy.
The word “Philosophy” means “the love of wisdom.” Essentially we love the thought of our own ideas so that we end up trading places with God. We place ourselves at the center of the equation and God is simply there to help us have a better life. It is subtle at first, but over time He becomes someone who exists to help us get through school, get married, get a job, and live a happy life. The Bible exists to help us get through those difficult days. Sunday exists to encourage us and make us feel better. Groups throughout the week exist so other people can listen to our problems.
How could we possibly feel “Firmly Rooted” when we are basically relying on ourselves and trusting in ourselves to make every decision? We could try to give the impression that we are holding everything together, but when we lay our head on our pillow at night and we feel the terror of that responsibility then we know the true answer.
Tradition of Men: What do you think of when you see the words “Tradition of Men?” This is when we are no longer looking to Jesus, but we are relying on our past experiences and traditions. This was common throughout all of Scripture when Jesus would interact with the religious leaders.
I remember when Holly and I were in London last year and in the National Gallery is a painting of Jesus standing before a religious leader and he has one finger pointing at Jesus and the other finger pointing at their laws and traditions as though he is correcting Jesus. It is a powerful image.
I am sure that most of us would say that we don’t have religious law that we rely on, but we have a law in our own heart. Instead of relying on Jesus we turn to our emotions. We will say things like, “It doesn’t feel wrong to me. It doesn’t feel bad to me. It feels good to me. I feel like I should do this. We also rely on our experiences. We will say, “That isn’t what I do. I have never done that before. I am not that kind of person. This is what I always do.”
These emotions and experiences are our own “Traditions” that we hold on to instead of Jesus.
Elementary Principles: What about “Elementary Principles?” It means sometimes we establish our own principles in life to determine if we are okay. It is different for all of us, but we will say things to ourselves like, “If my social network is strong then I feel okay.” If my politician is doing well then I am okay. If my bank account is strong then I am doing okay. If my relationships are strong I am doing okay. If my profession is doing well then I am okay.”
Scripture is teaching us that these “Philosophies, Traditions, and Principles” are not able to lead us to a place of being firmly rooted. In fact, it uses the word “Captive” to help us see there is a spiritual battle taking place every day for our heart, soul, and mind so that in God’s grace and mercy His light would be shed on the foolishness of these things so that we can turn from them and trust in Christ Jesus the Lord.
He is Christ because it reminds us He is King of Kings and completely in control. We see the name Jesus because it reminds us of His humanity, that He is personal, and we can know Him and have relationship with Him. We see the word Lord because it reminds us of His authority as we submit ourselves to follow Him.
We are deceiving ourselves if we think you can just casually go throughout the day and naturally find ourselves rooted and built up in Jesus. It isn’t going to happen. There are too many avenues that are looking to take you captive. That is why we have these three questions for our church this year to focus on:
– What are you learning?
– Who are you running with?
– How are you on mission?