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Students sitting outside Bockman
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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

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I grew up in a church that had lots of rules, which I had to obey to be in a right relationship with God. I never felt at peace. As hard as I tried, I could not be perfectly obedient. Jesus was described as one part of a bigger and more complicated religious package that included multiple things to do to please God and earn one's salvation. I felt like I was in bondage and could not free myself.

The passage from Colossians describes this kind of bondage when it alludes to a variety of rules, which false teachers in those days prescribed instead of the centrality of Christ. They added rules and guidelines that had to be followed to make a person acceptable to God. Verse 8 summarizes the message, "See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition... and not according to Christ."

In baptism we become one with Jesus. We die with him, are brought to life through him, and are assured of the forgiveness of all our sins (Col. 2:12-14). There is freedom and peace in Jesus, the kind that allows each day to be a new beginning in service to a gracious God.

Loving God, help us to focus on your gracious promises each day and live as your liberated children, made free to serve you in the world. Amen.

Said R. Ailabouni
Pastor, Grace Lutheran Church, La Grange, IL
Master of Divinity , 1979

Colossians 2:6-19 (NRSV)

6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him,
7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ.
9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,
10 and you have come to fullness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority.
11 In him also you were circumcised with a spiritual circumcision, by putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ;
12 when you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.
13 And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses,
14 erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross.
15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it.
16 Therefore do not let anyone condemn you in matters of food and drink or of observing festivals, new moons, or Sabbaths.
17 These are only a shadow of what is to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.
18 Do not let anyone disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, dwelling on visions, puffed up without cause by a human way of thinking,
19 and not holding fast to the head, from whom the whole body, nourished and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows with a growth that is from God.

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.