Colossians chapter 3 is a powerhouse of information for the believer. The apostle Paul gives very clear direction about what it looks like to live a life that honors God:
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. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.
8 But now you must 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 Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
This can seem like a daunting list, for sure. As I read each one, I paused. Sexual immorality – I have struggles here. Impurity – well… Lust – ouch. Evil desires – I have those occasionally. Greed – um…yes sometimes. What about anger? Yes. What about rage, malice, slander? I have been known to participate in these. And lies? I don’t want to, but I have lied before.
So, I pretty much have all the characteristics that would make me look like a fine, upstanding non-believer.
Yet among all the “do this” and “do that” of this chapter, there lies hope. Look at verses 15 and 16. Do you see the word “let”? We have only to allow the peace of Christ to rule in our hearts. We have only to allow the word of Christ dwell in us. There’s the hope.
It’s “abiding in the Vine” or just “plugging into” God’s power every day. With our eyes fixed on our relationship with Him, we’re less likely to stray off into our “earthly nature.” By focusing on Him – which could include prayer, reading His word, listening to worship music or sermons/books on CD, for example – we’re much more likely to live with thankful hearts, bearing and forgiving one another, and full of love.
Don’t be discouraged. Our human nature is opposite of living for Christ. But, we have the fullness of God in us through Christ. Tap in and rise above!
grace & peace,