SELF-MADE RELIGION

Scripture Reading: Colossians 2:20-23

“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.” (Colossians 2:23)

The believers at Colossae were being influenced by false teachers. Paul warned them about the “self-made religion” of these teachers. He said that it was deceptive and not useful for believers. The Colossians were being given additional rules to follow — “Do not handle. Do not taste. Do not touch.” And they were being encouraged to practice some sort of ascetic behavior and extreme physical denial of the body. Paul stated — “They are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.”

We all struggle with the flesh. We often give into it and fall into various kinds of sinful behavior. We may try different methods to help us avoid indulging our flesh. But we find that ultimately none of them works. “They are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.”

The only way that truly works in our battle with the flesh is to have a new affection in our hearts. We have to love Jesus more than we love ourselves. There has to be a change in the seat of affections in our hearts. We have to love Jesus more than we love our pleasures and sinful desires. The problem is that we all have misplaced affections. There are things we love too much. The loves of our lives drive our actions. The question is — Who or what is our greatest love?

Rules and regulations, asceticism, physical denial and any other form of self-made religion will not solve our problem. Jesus alone can give us the strength to resist sin. But we must love Him more than we love ourselves. When we do, we will find a new power to help us stop our indulgence of the flesh.

Lord Jesus, I do love You. But I confess that there are times when I love myself more than I love You. There are times I love my pleasure and sinful desires more than I love You. Forgive me for I know that You should be the greatest love of my life. Draw me to Yourself and grant me power to resist my tendency to indulge in the flesh.

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