Replacing the old life with the new

For some Christians, the battle between pre-salvation desires and their new preferences for living in Christ is relentless, but for others it’s not so dominant. For some, spiritual rebirth washed away the vicious battle against sin, while others continue with the struggle against weaknesses in temptation and fleshly passions. Paul, being the realist he was, speaks to this reality in his letter to the Colossian’ church, highlighting the believer’s responsibility and God’s provision.

The umbrella focus for every believer is to ​seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth (Colossians 3:1-2). This shift in daily focus alters our view of life from self to heavenly. Motives, attitudes, priorities, relationships, routines, activities, and much more, are seriously impacted by this overarching move in our mental direction. This shift is not only enabled by the Holy Spirit, but by realising that through  faith in Jesus Christ as Lord,  you have died (to self and sin), and your life is hidden with Christ in God (Col 3:3). Integral to this is a God-given realisation that when Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory (Col 3:4). This earthly  experience is not our permanent arena, but eternal life in glorious heaven with Christ is. And He’s coming one day to take us there.

Paul proceeds through Colossians 3:5-17, to catalogue some practical and strengthening Christian disciplines which equip, comfort, and refresh believers in the stresses and exhaustion of daily living. Essential to spiritual vitality is our need to put to death what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Likewise, you must put  away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. These sins may be acceptable and normalised in worldly society, but they are the sources of great suffering and anxiety for all you claim to belong to Christ. We Christians are responsible to remove these vices from our lives.

Similarly, we are to intentionally put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Through our surrendered daily intake of God’s Word, prayer, discipleship, and fellowship, we are enabled to become more holy and beloved, (with) compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, becoming more obvious in our lives.

Central to all this is a soft-hearted attitude that bows to the Lord Jesus, enabling us to let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. And it is when the peace of Jesus governs our outlook upon life that we can truly be thankful. As God’s Word masters our thinking and heart attitudes, so we experience change in the way we view others. Commonly, as we grow in Christ, our desires to be teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God increases. As church fellowship and worship become more valuable and more desirable, so other’s faults and irritations become less important to us.

Our growing relationship with the Lord is to permeate every part of life for His pleasure and glory. Paul concludes by reminding us that no matter what you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. This does not mean that we are blind to the difficulties of life, but it does mean we can see and experience Jesus Christ in all of life with thankful understanding.

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