Week 28 Saturday

Hollow Ideas

Today’s scripture selection: Colossians 1-2

Key verse: Colossians 2:8

     When I was in college I had a hard time deciding on a major.  It was art one day; psychology the next; journalism the following week; sociology the one after that.  Finally, I ended up studying religion.

     Along the way – I was exposed to many ideas – some profound; some rather silly.  But variety was the name of the game.  And that was just fine by me.

     Somewhere along life’s path, though, I have learned that not all ideas are worth seriously pursuing.  In fact, some ideas are very dangerous indeed – at least if acted upon.

     Maybe that’s one reason the apostle Paul had a stern warning for fellow believers:

     “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.”

     Now, some of have used scripture passages like this one to make a case for what I would call “just plain ignorant’ thinking.”  They won’t read a book to save their life – dumb and proud of it.

     I don’t think that’s what Paul intended.

     On the other hand, it’s a matter of priority – spiritual priority.

     I think Paul was simply calling us, as intelligent – but faithful – beings to use both mind and heart wisely.

     I think he was calling us to weigh what the world has to say to us, no matter how authoritarian the voice, and balance it against the truth of the living Christ.

     We are not called to burn books or celebrate ignorance.  We don’t have to quit reading the newspaper or surfing the internet.

     But we should use some simple common sense, and a good dose of faith grounded in scripture, to weigh truth from fiction.

     That’s how to stay away from hollow ideas – and draw close to the wonderful counsel of God.


Prayer: Heavenly Father, open my eyes – and my mind – to the truth as revealed by you.  AMEN.


By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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