COLOSSIANS 3:8-11: “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.” NKJV
OBSERVATION: Am I living in the kiddie pool of my Christian life, or am I going deeper in Christ? This is the thought that rushed to my heart when I read these familiar words from Colossians chapter 3. These words follow Paul’s initial call to Christ-like character.
- “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.” Colossians 3:5-7 NKJV
Paul begins with sins and attitudes that are evident by our outward behavior. These are the sins that we normally cannot hide. And, they are the sins that are much more likely to be overcome when we place our faith in Jesus Christ. The reason for this is twofold. First, it is because of the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Second, it is because of the outward restraints and expectations of our Christian fellowship.
However, Paul moves from the external to the internal. Jesus doesn’t want to only change the outward behavior in our life. Jesus desires to do a deeper work by transforming our mind, will, and emotions. Salvation is not only for our spirits so that we can go to heaven when we die. Salvation is a complete work for our spirit, soul, and body. Our spirits are immediately transformed. Our minds and body are a different story.
- “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him..,”
How many times have I faced hidden thoughts of anger? How many times have I slipped back into using language that was not appropriate? How many times have I fudged a little on the truth convincing myself it really was not a lie. These attitudes, and many more, are the remnants of our old sinful nature. Our spirit is transformed but our mind needs to be renewed by the Word of God, and our bodies need to be subjected to our spirit and our renewed mind.
There will come the day when we no longer will be involved in this struggle. Our spirit and our mind will be in total harmony. And, our body will be transformed into the likeness of Christ’s glorified body. This is the hope of the resurrection. However, between today, and that glorious day, we struggle. This struggle is common to all men and women. There is not a believer on the face of the earth who is not dealing with overcoming the pull and patterns of their old sinful nature.
This is why we are called to go deeper! If we simply wade in the kiddie pool we will live a most miserable life. We may be saved in the end, but our life will be filled with great disappointment and heartache. The deep end is there before us. The call of God is to enter in, to take the plunge, to allow the Holy Spirit to do a deeper work in our heart. And, the reality is – it really is not that hard. Paul uses the analogy of simply changing clothes. We are called to put off one thing and put on another.
- “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.” Colossians 3:12-14 NKJV
How do we do this? We do this by the grace of God! When we are faced with pride – we humble ourselves. When we are faced with anger – we act in kindness. When we grow impatient – we exercise longsuffering. We don’t write each other off when we fail – we bear with one another, we forgive one another, even as Christ has forgiven us. And, above all, we put on love, God’s love, which is the bond of perfection (the key to becoming like Christ)! We don’t do these things because we feel like it. We do them in obedience to God’s Word and in the power of God’s grace.
When we take these steps of obedience, and respond to God’s grace, something wonderful begins to happen. The actions that we do not feel like taking, but we take in obedience to God’s Word, become the very acts of faith that the Holy Spirit uses to transform us deep within. As we respond by grace through faith, we enter into the deep end. We begin to walk in agreement with the Spirit of God, and in doing so, we surrender our spirit, soul (mind, will, and emotions), and body, to His transforming work. As we continue to do this – our mind is renewed and our body is subjected in obedience. We begin to experience the fruit of the Spirit multiplying and taking root in our life and changing us in our inner man.
And, there is one more tremendous benefit. That benefit is that we begin to experience the peace of God in an increasing measure in our life.
- “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Colossians 3:15-16 NKJV
Lord, grant me the grace today to go deeper. Pour out Your Holy Spirit in my life so that I can put on the new man and walk in the power of your love! Help me to enter into the deep end or Your love! Let Your peace rule in my heart and Your word dwell in my mind richly – admonishing me ever deeper in this walk of grace!
- “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:17 NKJV
In Jesus Name!