In the last podcast, I told you that any opinion or belief that contradicts established biblical truth can cause an infection in a Christian’s heart and mind. It’s usually not just error, but anti-truth. Such a spiritual infection always affects life so it must be addressed. A spiritual infection is usually fed by looking to the wrong places to get your heart needs satisfied. The results are disappointment, fear, resentment, and many other negative thoughts and behaviors.
Thankfully, the answer to all spiritual infections is the truth that has been given to us in the Bible, especially in the New Testament. Knowing truth gives us a spiritual immune system that fights and prevents infection in our hearts and minds. Truth is the prescription for healthy living.
The first step, though, is recognizing the infection.
Dr. Paul diagnosed infection in Colosse.
Paul knew that the Colossians had received the complete gospel from Epaphras. They got God’s grace in all its truth. And it was powerful enough to meet their every spiritual need. So, what happened?
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. (Colossians 2:8)
What is the Cultural Captivity Infection?
You’ve seen enough movies to be able to picture in your mind what it would look like to be taken captive. Some of you’ve been in bondage to something that has taken you captive. You understand that.
Paul said hollow and deceptive philosophy had taken them captive.
Human philosophies that do not worship Christ are under the influence of Satan and his demons.
Before Christ, we were subject to those "spiritual forces." Through union with Christ, we die to them and are no longer bound to obey them.
When considering anyone’s philosophy, the qualifying test is this: Where does Jesus fit into their thinking and philosophy—as a way to know God or the way to know God?
What makes us susceptible to this Cultural Captivity infection?
“Cultural captivity looks to the culture rather than to Christ and the Bible as truth and a primary guide for living. Cultural captivity is usually caused by 3 things: Putting our trust in something other than the person or promises of Christ. Misunderstanding the truths by which Christ has called us to live. Or, a combination of both.” (Probe Ministries, probe.org)
The Colossian church had been infected with philosophy from their culture. There were three main symptoms of this infection:
Symptom #1: Dethroning Jesus Christ.
Symptom #2: Emphasizing works.
Symptom #3: Elevating experiences.
Truth is the Prescription for Cultural Captivity
In Colossians, Paul writes the strongest statement of the supremacy and deity of Christ found anywhere in the New Testament. The Greek words he used are specific for this infection, just like a doctor's prescription to treat a specific disease. There was no way those reading or listening to this letter could possibly misunderstand anything that Paul was telling them. The truth about Jesus would satisfy their heart needs. They wouldn’t need to look anywhere else.
As you study Colossians, you may discover that you have a concept about Jesus Christ, salvation, or the Christian life that is based on man-made tradition or philosophy instead of on Scripture. Do you have the Cultural Captivity infection regarding who Jesus Christ is? For healthy living, you will need to recognize that infection and give it up to accept the truth about Christ presented in God's Word.
Infection is bad. Untreated infection can be deadly. Knowing the truth of God that you have in Jesus Christ gives you an immune system that fights and prevents spiritual infection.
Let Jesus satisfy your heart needs with His truth and His love so you can get well and stay well.