Rid Yourselves of All Such Things—Colossians 3:5-8
“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips” (Colossians 3:5-8)
Interestingly, Paul gives a roadmap for change in Colossians 3. He starts with where to aim, by setting our hearts and minds on things above where Christ is seated (vs. 1-2). Then explains the day to day process of change; we are to rid ourselves of everything that the earthly nature is employed in.
The Danger of Sin
The reason we are to rid and deprive of power the practices of the earthly nature is because it is a slippery slope into sin. Paul said, “Because of these, the wrath of God is coming” (vs. 6). The same thing happened in the beginning with humanity. The book of Romans makes this very clear; this progression into debauchery was the starting point of being hostile to God.
The first step was ingratitude. "For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened" (Romans 1:21).
Next, they were deceived and willingly bought into a lie, "They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen" (Romans 1:25).
Next they refused to give God His proper place and suffered the consequences. “Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done" (Romans 1:28).
Lastly, they became completely hard-hearted and antagonistic toward God."Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them" (Romans 1:32).
This process seems to start innocent enough, but unthankfulness leads to a depraved mind capable of all sorts of wickedness. Thankfully, Paul reminds us, “You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived” (vs.7). But now, “you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (vs. 9b-10).
The Vehicle for Change
If Romans 1 outlines path for animosity and hostility toward God showing what sin and rebellion cultivates in our lives, then Colossians 3 gives instructions for living out of the new self; being renewed in the knowledge and image of God (Colossians 3:9b-10). This is how change occurs.
Here’s a few suggestions for living out of the new self fashioned after Jesus in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:24).
First, love deeply, forgive quickly. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (Colossians 3:12-14).
Secondly, be grateful. Cultivate a heart that is ready and willing to be thankful in everything. “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful” (vs. 15).
Next, be in the Word so that you will know what God’s love letter says; ready and able to share it with others. This will also help with being grateful. “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” (vs. 16).
Lastly, whatever you do; do it for the Lord. It is Him we serve. “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” (vs. 17).
Start by Being Thankful
In both of these passages the journey started with the response of either thankfulness or ingratitude. Today, do not waste time in unthankfulness. Take a moment to praise the Lord for who he is just as King David said in Psalms, "I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips" (Psalm 34:1).Make it your mission today to be thankful, love deeply and forgive quickly and you will see change.
Let’s Have a Conversation...
Where is one area in life where you can rid yourself of one of the things Paul lists in verses 5-8? Where is one area in life where you can practice gratitude?