Our messages at church for the past three weekends have come from the Book of Colossians. The first two weekend messages came from chapters one and two, and focused our attention upon realizing that Jesus is “Enough”. We were reminded that we claim to trust completely in Christ, yet we still add other things. Sure, we know the Lord is all-powerful, all-knowing, and almighty. “But if I have THIS, I’ll be even happier.” Or, “If I achieve THIS, people will look up to me and I’ll feel better about myself”. We’ve all said these things or something similar.
Yesterday, we heard Paul’s words to the church of Colossae in the third chapter, (NIV) “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.[b] 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also 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.” Ouch. Anger just happens to be something that I’ve withheld from Him for awhile. And it wasn’t something I particularly wanted to deal with, either. I kind of wanted to hang onto it a little longer. Especially since I have believed it to be justified anger. So Paul tells us to shed that ugly stuff. But he continues, “10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 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 one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
We are to take off (and never to put on again, BTW) our old behaviors and do away with them FOREVER. Then we are to put on Jesus, EVERY DAY. For me, it takes a conscious effort to remember that. Often times I’ve already been through several hours of my day before I realize that I didn’t make a point to “put on Christ” before I got out of bed.
During the service yesterday morning, we were given the opportunity to forever “put off the junk”. Those who wanted to participate dropped a list of “take offs” and “put ons” at the altar. It was a beautiful experience for even a lifelong Christian like me to make that commitment and leave church with renewed freedom.
We are deceived in so many ways by the evil one, who wants us to hold on to the ugliness of our former lives. He wants to remind us of the awful things we’ve done in the past. And he doesn’t want us to progress in our quest for intimacy with Jesus. He wants us to stay inside the cocoon of our old selves where we can’t possibly experience the tremendous joy of trusting in Christ for everything.
Read the Book of Colossians as soon as you have a chance. No, make a point of doing it TODAY. Then pray for Jesus to burst you out of that dark cocoon and help you spread your new-found wings and explore the world in freedom with Him!