Bad Prizes

18 Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, 19 and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God (Colossians 2).

The phrase “keep defrauding you of your prize” comes from one word describing an umpire who “awards the prize against” someone. Normally we think of prizes as good things received for outstanding achievements, but here Paul is speaking of an undesirable prize received for bad behavior described as “delighting in self-abasement” (meaning an “ostentatious humility” in order to bring attention to oneself), “worshipping angels,” and living a life based on “visions” one has only imagined—in short, acting like super-spiritual people who think themselves holier than everyone else. Of such people our Lord said: “They have their reward [prize] in full” (Matthew 6:2,5,16).

Such people are depending upon religion and “not holding fast to the head” who is Jesus Christ. True spirituality and real spiritual growth comes from dependence upon Him, because we cannot work spirituality into ourselves—it must come from God through Jesus Christ. 

Lord, help us This Day to receive good prizes, not bad ones. Amen.