Thursday, August 14, 2008

Colossians 3:5-8

Day 15

Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.

Here is the “therefore” word again—telling us Paul is drawing a conclusion based on what he has just said. In the passage preceding this one, Paul encouraged the Colossians to keep their focus on the things above, because they have died to earthly things. Now Paul gets specific on what the “earthly things” are to which they have died -- immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed. These are all marks of a person who lives for himself. As believers, we no longer live for ourselves, but to God.

These sins were the reason we needed a Savior in the first place—we were living in rebellion against our Creator, as what Paul calls “sons of disobedience”. Now that we have been rescued, to go back and try to live in that former way of life is to make a mockery of what was accomplished on the cross.

In the nineteenth century, girls wore shorter dresses until they came of an age when they were considered a woman. Once that age was reached, the shorter dresses were put aside and floor-length skirts and dresses were then worn, marking them as mature women. For a 21 year old to resort back to wearing the shorter dress of a younger girl would have been silly and inappropriate. Yet that is what we do when we put on the very sins from which we were rescued! We take on the characteristics of the ones who are still living in rebellion. We are to consider ourselves dead to these sins—because we are alive as new creatures in Christ.

Paul tells us to “put them aside”—which is an expectation that we be proactive in avoiding sin. The key strategy to doing this is in the previous passage. We are to keep our eyes trained on Christ, and our mind focused on things above. The battleground for spiritual things is in the mind. Peter tells us to “prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:13)

This is why keeping ourselves immersed in Scripture is so important. We are filling our minds with truth, which is preparation for spiritual warfare with the father of lies. Jesus Himself used Scripture as His weapon when confronted with Satan. He had plenty of power at His disposal, but Scripture was the weapon of choice.

What steps am I taking to prepare my mind? Do I have a strategy to avoid the sins of my old nature?

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