when i read this a few weeks ago it hit me hard. i think it's so easy to go about our days, dealing with the big and little trials of life, relying on human tradition and the basic principles of this world to guide our reactions and dictate our steps. we're human after all, so it makes sense that we'd lean that way. what hit me was how naturally i do this, and how i don't even realize that's what i'm doing, because it's not always obvious.
the nature of deception is that you don't necessarily realize you're being deceived. the enemy works in the gray areas. he knows he can't get us if his lies are completely 100% false. instead, he'll use something just slightly off from the Truth so that we'll believe it. he'll keep getting us further from the truth until we're in a dangerous place, believe all-out lies that are completely contradictory to God's Word. he's patient. he'll put in the hard work. and if we're not always on guard, it's a slippery slope that leads to captivity, just like colossians 2:8 says [above].
so, i read this verse and it struck me, and i knew there must be some way to recognize and refute the "human tradition" half-truths when they popped into my mind, disguising themselves as wisdom. well, a few simple things came to mind. and this seems to be God's recurring message to me, loud and clear:
in general, KNOW TRUTH. when you now Truth [as recorded in the Bible] you'll know how to spot the lies. you have to read the Bible to know the Bible. it's just that simple, actually.
specifically, commit James 3:17 to memory. it should be the filter through which all wisdom passes. if your thoughts/ideas/opinions/plans-of-action are not ALL OF THESE THINGS listed, you can be pretty sure they're not from God. :
James 3:17 "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere."
gosh, that's a lot of criteria. and i can already think of plenty of times when the "wisdom" that i've believed and acted upon does not lineup with these characteristics of Godly wisdom...
memorize more scripture. i like memorizing scripture because that's when it can really begin to work in my heart when i'm not even thinking about it. it becomes part of who i am, and it can take root and make a difference that way. without memorizing, i think it can tend to go in one ear and out the other, so-to-speak. i need to commit scripture to memory so that i can begin to recognize the lies, the deceptive and hollow philosophy, to keep myself out of captivity.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:5-9
surround yourself with Truth. basically, that passage tells me i should be putting scripture everywhere. i should be meditating on it day and night. if you didn't already know, this is exactly why i started designing scripture prints. it was a time in my life where the lies were swirling fast and furious, and i could've grabbed onto anything that felt sturdy. but God gently reminded me during that time that His Truth is the only sure thing that will set me free. His truth is the firm foundation upon which my entire life depends. HIS TRUTH is the only way to make it through the day, through tough circumstances, through harsh realities. i couldn't lean anywhere else if i hoped to survive in one piece. so i started to put it all over my house. and eventually i figured i wanted it to look pretty, so i started making prints. and putting them up all over my house:
and before you get the idea that you have to be an artist to memorize scripture? i also have stacks of spiral notecards like this, with a verse on every card, that i flip through often:
Colossians 3:1-2 reminds us: Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
this requires a proactive approach. you don't just sit idly by as your mind automatically thinks about "things above", do you? well, you might, but i don't :)
you might copy down a verse 50 times and that helps you remember it. you might carry around a notepad with tons of verses scratched onto it. you might paint, you might type it out in black and white and put it on your mirror [a great way to practice memorization while you get ready in the morning]. you might also keep worship music on in your house and/or car at all times. whatever strategy[ies] will keep you surrounded by Truth, do that. whatever you do, to escape the enemy's trap and keep yourself out of captivity you must let the Word of Christ dwell in you RICHLY. it's so simple and so important.
linking up with my blog-friend-turned-real-life-friend jami :)