Col 2:16-23 - Who are the real 'influencers' in your life?
People of influence in our life will have significant impact on how we live our life and its important that we select such people wisely; its no wonder the apostle Paul reminds us how important it is that we be careful about who we let into our 'circle of influence'. In verse 16 he instruct the church in Colossi to ensure they do not let anyone judge them because of the things they do or eat or drink and he adds a rather strange turn of phrase at this point; "These were a shadow of the things that were to come" (vs 17) This comment relates to the regulations and requirements that religious institutions impose on adherents, especially of those within the Jewish faith. Paul is not saying that the Jewish regulations have never had value, rather he is advancing the idea that now that Christ has brought about reconciliation with God, those who are in Christ have moved out of the shadow of death and into the light of life. The glory of God is not seen in keeping regulations, it is seen and found in close relationship with the creator of the universe.
Note also the criticism he extends to those who seek to live under humanly crafted laws - "They have lost connection with the head" (vs 19). Earlier (vs 9) Jesus is identified as the head over all, and this accusation by Paul demonstrates the importance of being connected to the Vine (see John 15). There are some who have stepped away from true discipleship and have become so influenced by human ingenuity that they no longer submit to the authority and rule of Jesus the King.
It is also worth noting that we remain in a spiritual battle and we must be careful not to submit to the rules and regulations, the influence of spiritual forces that are opposed the one who, as Paul has already declared, has already disarmed the powers and authorities and made a public spectacle of them, by his work on the Cross. Therefore, give serious consideration today to this reality: sometimes the evil one will seek to cause you to 'disconnect from the head' by causing you to feel judged for not complying with unnecessary regulations and rules, sometimes by rejecting the support and encouragement of fellow disciples who could be supporting ligaments and sinews (vs 19) and sometimes by activity that appears wise when in fact it simply distracts the disciple from listening to the voice of the one who gives life. Why not recalibrate today as you seek to live a life surrendered to Jesus.