Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations— "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle," which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men?
These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.
[Colossians 2:20-23 NKJV]
Some see The Bible as a list of rules and regulations that we must follow; but really it is God's revelation of Himself to mankind, through His Word, and it should therefore come as no surprise that Jesus is described as The Word.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. [John 1:1-2 NKJV]
Two very important words in scripture are 'Therefore' and 'If'. 'Therefore' says "accepting what has been written before, it follows that ..."; and 'if' adds the terms and conditions which will apply, should we wish to take action. This is beginning to sound like an elementary English class back in our schooldays, but I feel it is important, that we should remind ourselves from time to time of our Lord's guidance through scripture. He does not say to us "Do this ...", or "You must ...", for God has given us free will to choose our path.
Instead, with amazing love and grace, He argues the case for coming to Him. In our image above, we can see the quote from John 15; If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love. Follow this way; follow me, for I am the way. It is always about relationship - He shows us how to get the best from it by revealing Himself, so we are freed from any condemnation.
In Colossians 2:20 (above), Jesus Christ shows us that we are not brought into relationship by rules and regulations; instead, He transforms us and all we are to reconcile us to the Father, making the relationship complete. Our possessions, our bodies, our beliefs are all changed in an ongoing process that produces His life in us.
Amazing love, how can it be, that Thou my God should die for me! Lines from one of the most popular hymns, written by Charles Wesley, shortly after He gave himself to Christ through Romans 8:
But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. [Romans 8:9-11 NKJV]
And Can It Be That I Should Gain - Charles Wesley - BBC Songs of Praise
Sunday 20th September 2020
Mental wool-gathering can be stopped immediately the will is roused.
Prayer is an effort of will, and the great battle in prayer is the overcoming of mental wool-gathering. We put things down to our own inability to concentrate. “My soul, wait thou only upon God,” i.e. pull yourself together and be silent unto God.