Keeping Up Appearances

Written on 05/02/2022
Christian Dunn

Verse: Colossians 2:18-19

18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. 19 They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.

Going verse by verse through a book forces us to look at verse that otherwise we might just skip over. What is happening in this passage?

First off, there were several false teachings circling the Colossian church. Some were teaching that rather than worship God, you should worship angels. They said that in worshiping angels, which are lower than God, you were showing deep humility. Ironically, the Gnositics (who were perpetuating these false teaching) also loved to emphasize personal spiritual experiences. They would talk at length about their visions ("great detail about what they have seen") and take great pride in having more special insight than others. Paul rebukes both of these incorrect teachings.

How can we relate this to our lives? I think in general it is a good reminder to make sure our spiritual life is deeper than just what we project to others. These false teachers were all about appearances. They wanted to appear humble, but they weren't actually humble. They wanted to appear super spiritual, but they weren't actually connected to the Head. In short, they cared more about what people thought about their spirituality, than they did about their actual faith in Jesus.

We have certainly seen examples of this in our culture with celebrity pastors working hard on their "faith appearance" but clearly not putting the same effort into their actual internal life. Anytime we come across people with too much emphasis on "looking spiritual" or "looking Christian" we should be cautious. And the same goes for us! Where in our lives are we tempted to put on a good front, act the part, or check the box -- but in reality we know our hearts are drifting in the wrong direction?

The encouragement, the solution, is to be connected to the Head -- to be connected to Jesus. In the end, what we all need is a deeper, more profound, more encompassing connection with our savior. Only in him will we find true humility, true insight, and true spiritual maturity.

I pray that you would help me to mature my faith to go more than surface deep.