Lord, by your Word and Spirit, enlighten my understanding, purify my desires, and strengthen every right purpose in me.
Read Colossians 3:5-11
5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.[a] 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
- Colossians 3:6 Some early manuscripts coming on those who are disobedient
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Lord, I know that a sinner lives in sin and loves it; a saint lapses into sin and loathes it. Help me to live the new way with Jesus.
These next two readings provide a startlingly simple picture – two wardrobes in which to hang clothes. Rather than clothes, however, these are behavior/character wardrobes. The verbs ‘take off’ (v 9), ‘put on’ (v 10), ‘clothe yourselves’ (v 12), ‘put on’ (v 14) emphasize choices that face us each day. Like daily clothes, living with Jesus beyond normal calls for choices every day.
One wardrobe is full of our old clothes, our old selves (v 9), easy and comfortable to wear. First, there is a group of sensual sins including sexual immorality and greed, which are idolatry – sins against God. People may argue, for example, that sex outside marriage is harmless if no one is hurt. From God’s point of view this behavior defiles what God intended to be good. Chastity was the one completely new virtue that Christ brought into the world. Living the old way comes so easily and the commands to ‘put to death’ and ‘rid yourselves’ (v 8) are necessarily strong. Jesus died so that we too should die to the old way. Second, there are five social sins – sins of attitude and speech: anger, rage (violent and sudden), malice, slander, and filthy language with added emphasis on ‘do not lie’ (v 9). These are in the present – clothes still being worn, because they are so much part of ordinary human living.
One of the challenging aspects of today’s church is the potential for compromise with the world, allowing normal human behavior (the old wardrobe) to be considered acceptable conduct. No. Jesus not only sets high standards but he enables us to live a whole new way in a community of new selves (v 10), belonging with others, with all barriers removed (v 11): ‘Christ is all, and is in all.’
I like the definition: a Christian is someone with whom it is easy to be good. Reflect on how our community (see v 11) can influence our behavior.
Spirit of God, press in on me and give me an awareness of those habits I need to remove from my life. Please make clear to me what I need to embrace.
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