1 I want you to know that I am trying very hard to help you. And I am trying to help the people in Laodicea and other people who have never seen me. 2 I want them to be strengthened and joined together with love. I want them to have the full confidence that comes from understanding. I mean I want them to know fully the secret truth that God has made known. That truth is Christ himself. 3 In Christ all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are safely kept. 4 I tell you these things so that no person can fool you by telling you ideas that seem good, but are false. 5 I am not there with you, but my heart is with you. I am happy to see your good lives and your strong faith in Christ. 6 You received Christ Jesus the Lord. So continue to live following him without changing anything. 7 You must depend on Christ only. Life and strength come from him. You were taught the truth. You must continue to be sure of that true teaching. And always be thankful. 8 Be sure that no person leads you away with false ideas and words that mean nothing. Those ideas come from people, not Christ. Those ideas are the worthless ideas of people in the world. 9 All of God lives in Christ fully (even in Christ’s life on earth). 10 And in Christ you are full. You need nothing else. Christ is ruler over all rulers and powers. 11 In Christ you had a different kind of circumcision. That circumcision was not done by the hands of any person. I mean you were made free from the power of your sinful self. That is the kind of circumcision Christ does. 12 When you were baptized, ˻your old self died and˼ you were buried with Christ. And in that baptism you were raised up with Christ because of your faith in God’s power. God’s power was shown when he raised Christ from death. 13 You were spiritually dead because of your sins and because you were not free from the power of your sinful self. But God made you alive with Christ. And God forgave all our sins. 14 We owed a debt because we broke God’s laws. That debt listed all the rules we failed to follow. But God forgave us of that debt. God took away that debt and nailed it to the cross. 15 God defeated the spiritual rulers and powers. With the cross God won the victory and defeated those rulers and powers. God showed the world that they were powerless. 16 So don’t let any person make rules for you about eating and drinking or about Jewish customs (festivals, New Moon celebrations, or Sabbath days). 17 In the past, these things were like a shadow that showed what was coming. But the new things that were coming are found in Christ. 18 Some people enjoy acting like they are humble and love to worship angels. Those people always talk about the visions they have seen. Don’t let those people say, “You don’t do these things, so you are wrong.” Those people are full of foolish pride because they think only the thoughts of people, ˻not the thoughts of God˼. 19 Those people don’t keep themselves under the control of the head ˻(Christ)˼. The whole body depends on Christ. Because of Christ all the parts of the body care for each other and help each other. This strengthens the body and holds it together. And so the body grows in the way God wants. 20 You died with Christ and were made free from the worthless rules of the world. So why do you act like you still belong to this world? I mean, why do you follow rules like these: 21 ”Don’t eat this,” “Don’t taste that,” “Don’t touch that thing”? 22 These rules are talking about earthly things that are gone after they are used. These rules are only commands and teachings from people, ˻not God˼. 23 These rules seem to be wise. But these rules are only part of a man-made religion that makes people pretend to be humble and makes them punish their bodies. But these rules don’t help people to stop doing the evil things their sinful selves want to do.