I was reading Colossians, chapter 2 and I came across something interesting:
Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels,…
Worshipping angels? Really? Were the Colossians being pulled into angel worship? Then, I thought, do we have that issue today? After all, we’re in a post-modern era of science and reason. Certainly, today’s society wouldn’t be given to such flights of fancy.
Or would we?
So, I Googled TV shows about angels. Of course, Roma Downey’s Touched By An Angel, a long-running TV show about three angels that go around helping people. There’s a recent one about angels waging war on the earth called Dominion. We’ve got Lucifer, a show glamorizing Satan with his pre-fallen name.
Movies, too, involve angels. John Travolta was in a movie called Michael, after the archangel Michael in the Bible. Of course, the 1996 movie portrayed the angel in more “human” ways. There was also the family movie, Angels In the Outfield, where angels help a down-and-out baseball team. Or, one of the most famous movies, It’s A Wonderful Life, in which an angel is hoping to “get his wings” by doing some good deed on earth.
Of course, no one really believes this stuff. It’s just popular culture. Just movies and TV.
And yet, we spend a lot of money on it. Advertisers buy air time for the TV shows, investors front money for the movies and consumers watch the shows, buy them on DVD and pay ticket prices for seeing the stories at the multiplex.
Do we spend so much of our time and money on things that we don’t believe in?
Here’s another common phrase when someone dies: “Heaven has a new angel.”
Do we really believe that we get wings, halos and harps when we die … so long as we’re ‘good people?’
I suspect it’s a nice thing to say, a comforting thing for families to think, but not necessarily something we wholly believe. Like saying “Mother Nature” is throwing storms at us, or cooperating with our weekend. It’s an expression.
And yet, that’s where the seeds of error lie. We accept a silly phrase, we repeat it with no actual belief. Then, we start to believe it, secretly. What we allow in our mind becomes familiar. Then, we inch ever closer to an attitude of worshipping angels rather than Jesus. We look for an angel for help, rather than to Christ.
It’s subtle, slow and steady, this move toward heretical worship. That’s why Paul had to warn them.
Paul goes on:
…going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. Col. 2:18-19
Visions, special words directly from God, angels appearing, little books given to someone … all of those are signs that the person is puffed up and has a sensuous mind. They are not holding fast to the Head–meaning the boss, the Lord, Christ!
Sara Young, a popular author of the Jesus Calling books says that she was reading the Bible but “wanted more!” How admirable, right? She just couldn’t get enough of God!
The Bible says that the Word of God is sufficient for all our needs. 2Timothy 3:15-17 tells us that God’s word, all Scripture (Old Testament and New Testament) is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness that we might be complete, equipped for every good work.
Again, in Colossians 2:8 we read that we should be on guard that no one take us in with philosophy or empty deceit or human traditions that are according to the spirits of this world.
There is a long list of people who have been enlightened and teach things that either came to them from a special revelation from Christ, or adhere to the ‘spirit of this world,’ which is comfort, peace and happiness in this life. They all claim that their book offers something that will give you a complete life-change.
Paul would say, don’t listen to them. They’re selling diet shakes. Yes, you’ll lose weight. Yes, it will seem to be wonderful and quick. But, you’ll be starving yourself of proper nutrients and will be fatter than you were before when you abandon the expensive shakes for food.
God’s word is like healthy eating. It demands more of your attention and time. It sometimes is more expensive than a box of toaster pastries. It doesn’t last on the shelf as long as the chemical-ladden freeze dried convenience food. It may seem to run against the popular ideas that we’ve been told all our lives like calorie counting and fat intake. It doesn’t follow the sweet tooth our commercial culture has developed. It takes months and years, not days and weeks.
Devotion to God demands we completely change our life in an inward way, not outward ritual. It’s a heart change, not a gym membership with stretchy exercise clothes.
Worship of the Lord is offended at the idea of worshipping angels, or any other person, place or thing other than the Lord and Savior, the true lover of our souls!
Is worshipping angels really a ‘thing’ in our world? I think it is. I think it’s sneaky and pervasive. I think we should take Paul’s advice and guard against it.