1I want you to know how hard I am working for you. I'm concerned for those who are in Laodicea. I'm also concerned for everyone who has not met me in person. 2I want their hearts to be made cheerful and strong. I want them to be joined together in love. Then their understanding will be rich and complete. They will know the mystery of God. That mystery is Christ.
3All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in him.
4But I don't want anyone to fool you with fast talk that only sounds good. 5So even though I am away from you in body, I am with you in spirit. I am glad to see that you are doing everything in good order. And I am happy that your faith in Christ is so strong.
Freedom From Human Rules
6You received Christ Jesus as Lord. So keep on living in him. 7Have your roots in him. Build yourselves up in him. Grow strong in what you believe, just as you were taught. Be more thankful than ever before.
8Make sure no one captures you. They will try to capture you by using false reasoning that has no meaning. Their ideas depend on human teachings. They also depend on the basic things the people of this world believe. They don't depend on Christ.
9God's whole nature is living in Christ in human form. 10Because you belong to Christ, you have everything you need. He is the ruler over every power and authority.
11When you received Christ, you were also circumcised by putting away your sinful nature. Human hands didn't circumcise you. Christ did.
12When you were baptized, you were buried together with him. You were raised to life together with him by believing in God's power. God raised Jesus from the dead.
13At one time you were dead in your sins. Your sinful nature was not circumcised. But God gave you new life together with Christ. He forgave us all of our sins.
14He wiped out the written Law with its rules. The Law was against us. It opposed us. He took it away and nailed it to the cross. 15He took away the weapons of the powers and authorities. He made a public show of them. He won the battle over them by dying on the cross.
16So don't let anyone judge you because of what you eat or drink. Don't let anyone judge you about holy days. I'm talking about special feasts and New Moons and Sabbath days. 17They are only a shadow of the things that were going to come. But what is real is found in Christ.
18Some people enjoy pretending they aren't proud. They worship angels. But don't let people like that hold you back from winning the prize. They tell you every little thing about what they have seen. Their minds are not guided by the Holy Spirit. So they are proud of their useless ideas.
19They aren't connected to the Head. But the whole body grows from the Head. The muscles and tendons hold the body together. And God causes it to grow.
20The people of the world believe certain basic things. You died with Christ as far as things like that are concerned. So why do you act as if you still belong to the world? Here are the rules you follow. 21"Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!" 22Rules like that are all going to die out as time goes by. They are only based on human rules and teachings.
23It is true that those rules seem wise. Because of them, people give themselves over to their own kind of worship. They pretend they aren't proud. They treat their bodies very badly. But rules like that don't help. They don't stop people from chasing after sinful pleasures.