For this post I'm going to use the Living Bible, but feel free to look these things up in the Bible / Lexicon of your choice. :-)
Let's take a deeper look at Colossians 2:20-23...
20 You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, 21 “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”?
22 Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. 23 These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.
Paul is telling his listeners that they have been set free from the "spiritual powers of this world"... Now most Christians believe the "world" here is talking about the secular non-Christian world system, but I beg to differ. Consider, does the secular world tell us "Don't handle, don't taste, don't touch"? For the most part, the obvious answer is no! But who does tell us that we can't do this, eat that, etc... The church system does!
In the context of this passage, Paul is telling his listeners that they were set free from the "world" and the "spiritual powers" who told them not to do this or that... so who are these "spiritual powers"? I would have to say it's a reference to the religious leaders who back then and even so nowadays, tell us not to do this or that, don't eat this or that, etc...
Let's look at verses 22-23
Paul goes on to say how people back then and we see this in the church system today as well, that by denying ourselves this or that seems wise, but does nothing to control our sinful desires. For me personally I can certainly attest to that!
Why is that? IMO, it's because by actively trying to "die to self", whether it be by 'fasting", reading the Bible more, not looking at that sexy lady or guy in the office, not listening to rock music or whatever we try to do of our own efforts, is still very much focusing on self.... ie... we have to do this or that in order to draw closer to God, which imo takes away from the glory of what Jesus has already done on behalf of ALL of us!
Picture yourself as a young child who wants to sit on your daddy's / mommy's lap... do you first clean up your room or that mess you made in the kitchen in hopes that your parent will allow you to sit on their lap and be with them? Of course not! You just jump right up on their lap... you are always welcome, regardless of what disaster you might have gotten into only minutes before!
Likewise, you and I can always jump in Daddy's spiritual lap and enjoy His presence whenever we want to! Don't let anyone else ever tell you otherwise!
Sometimes when I'm in "quiet mode", I close my eyes and picture myself as that young child and I jump right into His lap.... unlike human parents who get busy sometimes, our spiritual Father is never too busy for us kids!