It's been awhile since I posted to my blog. The main reason I haven't posted in awhile, is because I wanted to make sure that I had something meaningful to say. I didn't start out blogging to get a following or likes . I really just wanted to express my humble veiw of what God was showing me, as I read his word.
Since my last blog post, I have become a happily married man. I'm thankful that God allowed my wife Amy and I to meet when we did. We both live in Nebraska but met at a show in Kansas City. Through that unlikely meeting through mutual friends, months later we were inseparable and she has become my best friend.
Now that we have briefly covered what's been going on in my life the last few months, I would like to talk today about the concept that, Jesus plus nothing equals everything. It's a concept that explores the idea, that in many ways, we have made Christianity too complicated through man made rules or Jewish mosaic laws that don't apply to us today.
I was reading my daily devotional and it came from Colossians 2. There were two sections that jumped out to me. The first one was, Colossians 2:16 ESV “Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.
I did some research of the context of this scripture and I learned that back in the day when Paul wrote this letter, there were religious people who were looking at the Colossians who were new non Jew Christian's and were trying to get them to follow all the old testament religious rules that the Jews had. Those rules included deitary restrictions according to the mosaic law, The annual religious celebrations of the Jewish calendar such as Passover and Pentecost. They also wanted them to follow the new moon monthly sacrifice offered on the first day of each month.
As a young christian in the island of Antigua which is a very religious country, I remember there was much debate about if you should eat pork or shell fish, mainly because it was forbidden in the old testament. That is just one example of many things dealing with food and drink that we put so much emphasis on because of religious beliefs.
Romans 14:5-6 ESV says, One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.
This shows that what is important is that we reverence God and are thankful. As Christian's, if you worship on the Sabbath, that is good and if you worship on Sunday, it's also good. If you eat pork, it's ok and if you choose not to, that is also ok. The focus should be on Jesus and nothing else. Through Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross he eliminated the debates and made it easy to serve him.
The second scripture that stood out to me was Colossians 2:20-23 ESV “If 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— "Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch" (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These 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 looked up the word asceticism, because I had no idea what that meant. I found out that it means severe self-discipline and avoidance of all forms of indulgence, typically for religious reasons.
ThIs passage highlights the point that severe or extreme self discipline and or avoiding food and drink that perishes though maybe knobel. Rules and regulations maybe helpful but ultimately it's really not going to help curb your sinul nature and appetite. This passage also helps drive home the truth that it’s not about what we do it’s about what Jesus already did. Jesus is the main component for true change in our lives.
These verses point out the ineffectiveness of asceticism, which is the attempt to achieve holiness by rigorous self-neglect (v. 23), self-denial (v. 21), and even self-infliction. It shows that even living a life of self denial from a religious place through methods such as asceticism is powerless to restrain sin or bring one to God.
We have seen many instances where people have taken vows of abstinence and self denial. They have the outward appearance of holiness and spirituality, but through their actions behind closed doors, that's not the case.
Studying this scripture has brought me to the realization that Jesus plus nothing equals everything. It's not about works or what we can do to earn salvation or to keep it. It’s not about what we eat and what day we worship God. Our focus should be resting and abiding in him and his love and leading others to know that same love.