“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. Colossians 2:6-8 NIV
Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord – you need to continue to live in Him! How did you receive Him? Was it by your works or by your effort? NO! If you really received Jesus – not a church, not a denomination, not a religion – but Jesus – then you received Him by FAITH in His GRACE! If you did not receive Him by faith then you did not receive Him at all!
But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:21-24 NIV
We are justified freely by His grace. When we first receive Jesus and we fall in love with Him – we are excited, we are full of wonder and joy, we love to be in His presence, we are hungry for His word, we talk about Him all the time and we tell everyone we meet how wonderful He is. We must continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in our faith as we were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. The only way we are going to maintain a fruitful relationship with the Lord and retain the joy of our salvation is by filling up on the word of God and by spending time in His presence.
The more time we spend with Him, the more rooted we become. The deeper and firmer the root – the stronger the tree! As we fill up with the Word – we are built up and strengthened in our faith. The most awesome thing we experience when we first receive Jesus is FREEDOM! We receive freedom from sin and freedom from religion and tradition. We feel the bondage of sin and the world leaving us and we experience the freedom of forgiveness and acceptance. We lay down our heavy burden and we pick up His light one.
For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” Galatians 2:19-21 NIV
Christ died to deliver us from sin and the curse of the law. We receive Jesus by faith – not by keeping the law. Colossians 2:8 says, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”
There are people who feel that it is their duty to bring you back into the bondage that Jesus saved you out of. You are saved by faith and you must live the rest of your life by faith (Hebrews 10:38). Don’t shrink back from your faith because it is the only way to please God. God is not pleased by your works, which are without faith. Only those things that are motivated and carried out by faith are pleasing to Him.
If we rely on hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ – then we will lose the life and freedom that Jesus paid for so dearly. Man’s wisdom and tradition may sound right and make sense to our minds because it appeals to our intellect, however it is foolishness to God. The religion and tradition of man relies on the efforts of man – long lists of do’s and don’ts – but God tells us to trust Him and not our own effort or ability. Man’s religion and tradition gives us rules and regulations – some of which are most unpleasant and extreme.
Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence. Colossians 2:20-23 NIV
There are people who fast — just to punish themselves — not to open their spiritual ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to them. They also mutilate their bodies and inflict pain on themselves, but it does not help to bring their sensual desires under control. This does not please or impress God – neither does He reward us for it. It is nothing but false humility. False humility is when we abase ourselves in order to EARN God’s favor. Our OWN righteousness is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) and is unacceptable to God, but the righteousness God bestows, allows us to come boldly into His throne room any time we choose. We live by faith in God and only the Spirit of God can help us to control and eliminate ungodly, fleshly desires. Jesus died to make us free – let us honor Him and continue to LIVE free!