We hear St. Paul say in Colossians: “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. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily and you have come to fullness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority…If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the universe, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world?” (Colossians 2:8-23).
We need to take St. Paul’s words personally. He asked this question 20 centuries ago of the Colossians and it applies to us just as strongly today. Paul asked, “If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the universe, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world?” There are very few people to whom this is not a valid question today.
It is difficult to withdraw from the attractions and temptations of the world. And with the advancements in technology in our time it seems that we can have anything that we want. If we cannot afford something, someone is there waiting to give us credit to buy it.
This has made us spoiled and unsatisfied children. In the emptiness of overwhelming plenty, many people search for a meaning to life in the “elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ.” We live as though we belonged to the world for there is where we look for our nourishment.
With all that the world can provide there is still poverty and need. There is still hatred and war. There is still deceitfulness and guile. And those who have the riches of the world but do not have Christ, there is a poverty of the true Spirit that exceeds any poverty as measured by the world. That Spirit can be found more often in the poor and the meek of the world than in the rich and powerful. The Spirit is available to all alike. It becomes a matter of faith, hope and choice for us. And in choosing, the foundation is love.
By accepting that God loves us so much that He sacrificed His Son for us to forgive us our sins, we have a different perspective on the world. In connecting with us through Christ and the Holy Spirit, God gave us the answer to the question, “What is the meaning of life?” The elemental spirits of the world are part of God’s creation and must answer to Him.
Our source in life should be our creator not that which He has created. The world wants to take us captive through its many empty and deceitful ways. We have an advocate with the Father. He is Jesus Christ, about whom Paul said, “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have come to fullness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority.”