“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
Though I have never actually been taken captive, in a literal sense, I did experience a time in my life when I was unable to do what I wanted to do for a while, and experienced the fear of having events move beyond your control. In the winter of 1985 I was teaching high school and came down with a bad cold which turned to pneumonia. I stayed home for a week, took the medications and went back to work when the doctor told me I could. The cough persisted, then got worse. I had trouble breathing at night, and got dizzy often. The doctor would put me back on medication, I would get better for a while, then when the medication stopped, I’d be worse. Finally, after two months or more of battling this, I went to another doctor at the urging of a friend. I found out that the pneumonia had settled in the pericardial tissue, and then into the heart itself. The prognosis was uncertain, the treatment included testing and rest in the hospital for six weeks. For the first time in my life, I was held captive in circumstances beyond my control.
As you might expect, my prayer life was strengthened immeasureably by the experience. I was serving as a bi-vocational youth pastor and several times, I woke up from a dazed sort of nap to find a church member standing over me, praying for me. Faith was all I had, and I am very glad I did have it, because I don’t know what I would have done without it. I practically wore out a Bible while I was laying in bed. It was one of the best times in my life for getting close to the Lord and developing my personal discipleship. I don’t recommend it, though.
I can’t imagine what it would feel like to be held captive by the philosophy of this world. I guess that’s where real hopelessness comes from. I’m glad I don’t know what that feels like. I’m glad I’ve learned that I can check out anything that is said, taught or preached against what the Bible says, teaches and preaches.