Hello my friend! I hope this letter finds you standing firm in the strength of Christ as you walk in the midst of a world that wants you to think of yourself as existing in the same bondage it finds itself trapped in. Yeah, I think you know what I’m referring to. Let no one convince you that your real life is anything other than the only true life of God as found in Jesus Christ. Don’t let the religious spirit of man dull your vision, for you’ve been given the eyes of the Spirit to see what no man can see.
Among other changes on theShovel.net website, I’d like you to check out the new Daily Dig on the front page. I should probably call it the Almost Daily Dig, as I have missed a couple days since I renamed my homepage blog, but, at least for now, the new name stands. :) Anyhow, here are a few of the recent Digs:
- The Devil in the Details
- Groundhog Day, and the Hope of Getting it Right
- Keep Seeking the Things Above
- The Message is the Same
- And if it is Really True
I’ve also created a new menu with an orderly presentation of Bible verses as found in articles on theShovel.net. Here’s the link: Search By Verse
I’ve also recorded a new audio in the ShovelaudioBoca series: Illusions of Spirituality
Although it is subject to change, I have finished chapter 2 of my Shovelation project of Colossians. Here it is:
Shovelation: Colossians 2
And I want you to know the intensity of the struggle I have taken on for you and for those in Laodicea, and for as many as have never even seen my face. I endure it so that their hearts might be built up from having been joined together in love, having been strengthened according to all the wealth of the full assurance that all runs together to the acknowledgement of God’s mystery: Christ — for in him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden. I tell you this because I do not want anyone to pull you into the kind of reasoning that comes from engaging in persuasive arguments. For even though I am not there with you in person, I am nevertheless with you in spirit. And it gives me cause to rejoice because I see you standing together in faith as a body unified under Christ, your one true head. And so everything I have said establishes this one simple reality: as Christ Jesus is the one you took as your undisputed leader, it is Christ Jesus in whom you continue. For in him you have been firmly rooted, and in Him you are being built up and established in your faith. For this is what you received in the message as I preached it, and this is what caused your hearts to be overflowing with gratitude.
And this is why I warn you against the trickery of those who think of you as nothing more than a prize to be won in a contest. Don’t let them blindside you with their facade of spiritual wisdom and their empty deception, for it is built upon the same old regurgitated wisdom of man that has been passed down for centuries. Although it may sound lofty and spiritual, their philosophy is bound by the same elementary principles you learned in the world. Their logic may come across as having been built upon the foundation of Christ as I have preached it, but it has nothing to do with Christ. Not even a little bit. For they reject the truth that in Christ everything that God is lives fully and completely in bodily form. You see, for them, that would mean that you who make up his body are completely filled with all the fullness of God, and that would destroy the basis upon which they seek to manipulate you. Everything these men try to persuade you to do through their spiritual-sounding logic denies Christ as being the one and only head over all rule and authority. After all, the earth-bound principles and figures these men really hold to as their divine authorities have no jurisdiction if Christ has it all.
It is not according to Christ by which they encourage their students to abuse their bodies in an attempt to curb their fleshly appetites, because in Christ the offending flesh has already been cut away with a surgical procedure that is not carried out by man. For the body of the flesh has been removed by the surgery of Christ, which has been accomplished by you having been buried with him through becoming immersed in him, in which you were also raised up with him through the faith of the working of God, who raised him from the dead.
Do you not remember how God made you alive together with Christ while you were still stumbling around in deadess? And that’s not all. God raised you up in spite of the fact that you still had the foreskins these philosophers find so offensive. But God is not offended, for he has forgiven us all our fleshly indulgences, as well as having canceled out every entry in the record book that could possibly be held against us. All cause for hostility has been taken out of the way, for it was nailed to the cross. And when Christ had displaced the ones who set themselves up in first place and had divested the authorities of their imagined power, he confidently declared his victory over them through himself.
This means that the authority has been stripped from any who would judge you regarding what you eat or drink, or even whether or not you partake in the sacred feasts or a new moon celebration or any day of rest. Such things were never an end in themselves but, rather, were merely a shadow of the actual substance they had been waiting for. Christ may have been out of view, but his was the body that had been casting the shadow.
Why, then, would you let those who still judge everything according to the shadow decide how you should live the life they know nothing about? Don’t let them lure you in by their pretenses of humility nor by their religious devotion to heavenly messengers. For such men take their stand upon things they’ve seen, and it causes their fleshly minds to become puffed up for no reason. Despite your naive assumptions, they do not hold to the head from whom the entire body is nourished and held together by the joints and bonds of unity —for the body grows with a growth from God.
And if it is true that you have died with Christ to the operating principles of the world, why do you let these men convince you that you are of this world and must live your lives according it? They issue commands like “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch,” but don’t you realize that all the things the tell you not to do only deal with stuff that perishes with the using? But this is the same rationale upon which the men of this world have created all their laws and teachings! Sure, their intensely-driven form of spirituality may seem full of wisdom, especially in view of how they will do anything —even if it means abusing the body to achieve it— but none of it has any effect upon curbing fleshly indulgence.