“Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence” Colossians 2:23 (NIV).
As we walk away from habits in our lives that are not pleasing to God, we need to ask ourselves if we are walking away because we love the Lord, or are we just behaving to obey a set of rules? If we make changes in our life, but still harbor those desires in our hearts, are we headed for danger? There must be more to our life than just following the rules. There needs to be proper knowledge of who God is, true love in our hearts for Him, and a genuine desire to obey Him because of who He is.
Raised in a Christian home, I was in church whenever the doors were open. I learned how to behave, but I did not understand the why of that behavior. I mean, I did not see how the principles in God’s word applied to my action. I believed in God, but I did not understand that my walk with Him could be a relational one. I did not get how to love Him or how much He loved me. As a result, I developed a pattern in my life of just behaving in a way that was always temporary because of the sinful desires buried deep in my heart. I did not learn to deal with those desires the proper way.
If we only behave to follow the rules, our desires will not go away. They will stay dormant in our hearts, waiting for that one trigger to bring it out again. Only God can change this in us as we give Him each desire, one by one.
Following a set of rules does nothing for the indulgence of sin. But learning how to love and trust God is the only right way to get away from a sinful life.