Change for the better. It sounds like such a good idea. Why then is it so difficult?!
We have been talking through the book of Colossians as we Refresh our minds in who we are in Christ. Simply put, the challenges in the scriptures we have been looking at are not easy. They take focus. They take effort. They mean change.
This week we read from Paul’s letter to the church at Colossae a standard for living..
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 NIV)
Noticeably the list is not of our favorite character traits. In fact, we would likely be embarrassed to have ourselves listed alongside these attributes. Paul does not stop there, but challenges us further in living a different way…
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 one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. 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 NIV)
The shocking difference between the two lists is drastic. We are challenged to be different.
Beyond a personal challenge, Paul writes to reinforce the unity we have being saved by grace..
and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. (Colossians 3:10, 11 NIV)
The end of the chapter focuses on several roles and how they are to act. From a modern perspective these are not easy to understand… especially slavery. However, the key to what he writes hinges on why he writes it. We are to live as serving the Lord in everything.
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. (Colossians 3:17 NIV)
We walked away from our time together being challenged from the scripture in these ways..
- Mind on heavenly things
- United in Christ
- Changing for the Better
- Serving The Lord
Will you accept the challenge and change for the better?