Yesterday’s post was about spiritual reminders. In that entry, I ended with the idea of striving for maturity. I want to build on that idea and talk about striving for maturity. Look at Col 3 for just a few minutes because I love the way Paul expresses these ideas here. We’re talking about striving toward maturity and how we might accomplish that. How do we become mature believers?
Col 3:5 – Put to death – This means to deprive of life or energizing power or render weak. In other words, to cut off everything that energizes. We are to sever what belongs to the worldly nature. So we are to sever or deprive the energizing power of these things, for they are powerful, ensnaring and damaging. Look again at this list. These are weighty things. And Paul says they are idolatry. Idolatry is worship or service of an image. When we give in to these things, they will grow and we will serve them, squeezing God out.
Col 3:8 – Lay aside – It’s interesting to me how Paul continues the thought here. He says that we are also to put away or lay aside these things. That means we are to cast off, give up or renounce these things. Wrath is defined here as an outburst of passion. This is passion-driven behavior or actions emerging out of strong impulses or intense emotion. Malice is simply spite or wickedness. When we wish others harm. Slander here is blasphemia, which you can guess what word we get from that. It’s being slow to call something good that is good and slow to identify what is truly bad. Slander. How often do we fall prey to slanderous statements against others? And finally filthy language. Uh oh. That’s pretty straight forward. Paul says we are to renounce these things.
But look at this. In v 5 we are to deprive these items of their energizing power because they lead to full out idolatry and in v8 we are to renounce or give up these things. It’s as if he understands that while both lists need to be dealt with we see the damaging impact of sexual immorality and impurity and how they lead to further disobedience but we almost wink or carry a don’t ask don’t tell attitude toward these “lesser” sins. Yet Paul says hey you need to lay that aside too. Oh and by the way don’t lie to each other either.
Col 3:10, 12+ – Put on – This means to clothe ourselves. V 12 says as the elect of God. We have been selected by God as a deeply personal choice by him. Paul says ok, God’s chosen, set apart and esteemed or longed for by God, clothe yourselves in hearts of favor, grace and mercy, kindness and gentleness and patience. We look at Jesus as our example and we see what he did for us back in Ephesians. He paid the legal debt and repurchased us from death. He gave us an inheritance and made us his inheritance, he gave us the holy spirit as a down payment for what we will ultimately receive. We look at this and we agree with Paul that we are to put on love and let the peace of Jesus that he gave to us and to which we were called control our hearts.
This is the Christian life. This is the life of the believer. This is our witness to a dying world. This is our encouragement to one another. This is how we engage the enemy, the dark forces of this world. This is how we survive the fiery darts of the evil one.
We are to realize that God chose us, redeemed us, made us an inheritance, gave us the Holy Spirit as a pledge, and made us citizens of heaven. And we need to act like it. We need to strive for maturity as believers by depriving evil, idolatrous behavior of their energizing power and we are to renounce certain behavior because we have put on the new self, which is being renewed in the image of our creator. And we need to clothe ourselves with godly characteristics and whatever we do, do in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.