Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Stay away from those how to books!
8See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.
9For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,
10and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;
Have you noticed all the "Christian" books that have been written to "help" us know God and "help" us stop sinning? The book stores are full of them! I have bought my share of them myself.
Steps to peace with God, ways to make your relationship with God grow or get better, and knowing the will of God are what most of these books are written about.
Why do these books sell? How come so many are bought with good intentions and are put up in a bookshelf after reading and then another and another is bought only to end up in the same bookshelf?
I'll tell you why, they do nothing for us! What can happen is we become captive through the philosophy of some well intentioned person who has made up his/her own tradition that helps them satifisfy their own soul. This may "work" for them but anyone else ends up frustated that they can't "go through the steps" or can't seem to muster up the will power to stop whatever the author of the book has said is wrong and is keeping the reader from God's "power" in their lives.
We end up with a conscience trained by human philosophy and the traditions of men rather than according to Christ. This is what happened to the pharisees and scribes. The elementary principles of this world are performance or if I do this then God will be pleased with me. Which in all honesty is only self-righteousness.
We are made complete in Him. Nothing else can or will make us more acceptable to Him. Jesus said it is finished on the cross, sin does not keep God from loving us. In fact God is love and it pleased Him to put our sin upon Himself because He is love and doesn't want our sin to separate Him from us. Our sin separates us from God not God from us.
So stay away from most of the books! At worst they will only cause us to rely more on the flesh instead of our God for life and at best they are a source of undue guilt and condemnation of trying please God according to traditions of the well intentioned men who write them. Christ has set us free from doing in order to be, we would do well to mix this with faith and believe it instead of trying harder to make ourselves acceptable to God who already gave Himself for us to make us acceptable to Him. I think Paul called this frustating the grace of God.
One last note. Read chapter 2 of Colossians from start to finish, read it several times. If you want it to and God willing, it will open your eyes to alot of things that we do and let be done to us by well intentioned teachers that actually keep us from living in freedom and knowing the true God.
One more thing. There are some good books written by men, just be careful that what you read isn't adding something that our great and loving God has not required of us to be complete in Him. We received Christ by faith not by works and God says to walk or live your life by the same faith not by works(Colossians 2:6). If we remain in Him by faith and not effort or performance then we will bear fruit or works(John 15:5)