Toxic control methods to recognize and run from

Let no one disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement* and the worship** of angels (or messengers), going on in detail about visions, unreasonably inflated based on human conceits, not securing to Christ, the head, who holds all other parts of the body together so that it grows with a growth that is from God. Col. 1:18-19

Nobody gets to disqualify someone Christ has redeemed.  Nobody gets to impose a set of rules, practices, restrictions and positions on someone Christ has set free. Nobody gets to use angels and visions as a means of control or validation. Nobody gets to feed their own ego by using their “spirituality” as social currency. These sorts of toxic control methods are often orchestrated by leaders focused on “growth” whether it be numerical or “spiritual.” Such growth comes by creating “us” and “them” categories so that members of a group can feel superior or special; or by institutionalizing growth so that members can feel like they are progressing by meeting goals and criteria. Trusting Christ to grow us and other people, and letting go of control and the pride that comes with control, leads to a much more organic and less self-directed growth experience. Christ-directed growth creates a greater sense of connection with those around us who are also part of what Christ is holding together and growing.

Lord, help me to let go of the human conceits and let You manage growth.

 

*tapeinophrosynē tr. humility, forms of personal asceticism, or self-abasement (literal “unto a lowed centeredness“)

**thrēskeia tr. worship (can represent range of meanings: “general religion, cultic practices, religious traditions, religious obligations, philosophical positions”) and often carries negative connotations in Greek writings outside the Bible.