Summary: 4 of 5 messages on Colossians. This message speaks of religion, spirituality, secularism, and Godliness.

Life 101: The Way That Works

Four Ways to Live

Three ways crash and one way works

Is there anything as irritating as when something that is supposed to work – doesn’t?

Sit in your car and turn the key but all you hear is the starter growling incessantly. There is no comforting roar of spark plugs firing, gasoline exploding, and pistons thrashing up and down inside their cylinders. Or even worse, you turn the key and… nothing. Not even a click. Not a red light on the dash. Not a flicker of a needle on a gauge. Nothing! That’s frustrating.

Or you pull out the lawn mower, gas it up, and yank on the rope. Nothing! You do it again. And again. And again. And there is nothing every time. You do it till you’re sweating and your arm aches with fatigue. That’s irritating.

Or you put a dinner in the oven because friends are coming over. You work all morning peeling potatoes and carrots. You beat the living daylights out of a tough piece of meat to tenderize it and stick it in the oven with the vegetables. You work hard all day and when you come back a few hours later you discover the oven didn’t light. Your dinner is sitting in the pan – raw – when your friends ring the door bell. That’s maddening.

Or you just finished writing up a paper that is due in the morning. You’ve completed hours of research, written your best analysis with carefully crafted arguments supporting your thesis when the computer suddenly displays the blue screen of death. You reboot… but it doesn’t reboot. It hangs. You reboot again anxious but calm. It gets further but hangs again with a new message: It says… “This program is not working” Like YEAH! Your face is getting red, Your eyes are as sharp as knives and you reboot again but this time you hear a strange clanking sound from within the deep dark innards of this evil machine and you realize your hard drive has turned to stone.

Now that is enough to send you over the thin line beyond which is the wonderful world of insanity.

Don’t you just hate it when something doesn’t work when it’s supposed to work?

Today I’d like to explore four ways to live – really live. I’m not talking about existing. This is not about surviving. We’re talking about joy, love of live, happiness, and robust enthusiasm for getting up in the morning.

As we examine these four ways you’ll quickly see that three are busted and one – only one – really works.

First is the way of religion.

Religious People Confuse Shadows with Reality

16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.

17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

Colossians 2:16-17

Religion is the art of appearing to be righteous.

Being righteous is a good thing even though it is often not understood well. Have you ever seen a movie or read a book about a CIA spy who is accused of treasonous activities? The whole of the storyline surrounds one idea – how this man can be made “righteous”.

That’s the meaning of righteousness. It is to be right with God and man. It is to be clean – no skeletons in the closet, no dirty laundry, no hidden secrets, no false representations, no garbage in the corners. A righteous man is one who stands without having to explain anything or answer for any action. He is without flaws.

A religious man pretends to be a righteous man. The result is sorry and sad.

Religious people focus on the external accoutrements of righteousness.

If a righteous man praises God with deep gratitude for what God has done in his life a religious man plans a religious festival so that he looks like a righteous man.

If a righteous man stays away from certain foods because it affects his ability to make God primary in his life a religious man makes it a rule and keeps away from such food “religiously” (pun intended).

Religion focuses on the shadows of worship and misses the reality of Jesus in their vain attempt to convince others that they are righteous people. And the attempt is vain – most of us can see right through religious people to their heart of dust. They are best at fooling themselves and even then they don’t do it very well.


Spiritual People Mistake the Act of Worship with the Object of Worship

18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. 19 He has 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.

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