Slow your breathing and become aware of the taking in and letting out of your breath. Focus on putting things aside so you will be open to what God is saying to you today.
Colossians 2:16-3:1 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Therefore do not let anyone condemn you in matters of food and drink or of observing festivals, new moons, or sabbaths. These are only a shadow of what is to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. Do not let anyone disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, dwelling on visions, puffed up without cause by a human way of thinking, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the whole body, nourished and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows with a growth that is from God.
If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the universe, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world? Why do you submit to regulations, “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch”? All these regulations refer to things that perish with use; they are simply human commands and teachings. These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-imposed piety, humility, and severe treatment of the body, but they are of no value in checking self-indulgence.
So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
Have you ever been told you were not good enough for God just because of what you looked like?
I’ve let my hair stay long since I was 20 years old. Someone once confronted my father at the church he attends and said, “I can’t believe you let Josh grow his hair out! Doesn’t that bother you?”
My dad responded by saying “Josh has never been in trouble with the law. He has never done drugs or given me any sort of trouble whatsoever in his life. If the only thing trouble he gives me is letting his hair grow out, then I consider myself pretty lucky.” This person was so bothered that I had broken this unspoken rule that she confronted my father. And my father told her that this rule didn’t matter, as long as I lived the rest of my life with integrity and respect.
Christ has canceled the record of the charges against us and we have been set free from legalistic rules about what to eat or drink or wear. Paul’s point is that we must not let anyone condemn us by saying that certain actions would exclude us or others from God’s love. Our worship, traditions, and ceremonies can help bring us close to God, but we should never criticize fellow Christians whose traditions and ceremonies differ from ours. Our traditions are great. But more important than how we worship is who and what we worship. Don’t let anyone judge you. You are responsible to no one but Jesus Christ.
Prayer: Dear God, we get so caught up in these arbitrary rules of what we eat, or what we look like, that we stray from the real reason we worship you. We should never forget that the ultimate reason you have called us to serve you is to love others as you have loved us.
Go with God!