Colossians 3:7 You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world.
Before you get on your high horse remember, you once walked in these things too. You’ve got to love Paul, because his writing keeps you humble or should keep you humble.
He’s saying in prior verses before this one that we should put to death whatever in us is worldly, because God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient—those who are practicing these ungodly things. However, before you point your finger at how bad off someone else is, remember you once walked in these things too. Not only that, but you walked in these things when you were living in them. In other words, you didn’t just dabble here and there, you were in it.
Colossians 3:8 But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language.
Now you must put away those worldly desires and ways of life. It won’t be easy because we’re so used to being surrounded by these things. Yet, we can be encouraged. If Paul is telling us to put them away, that’s because they can be put away. But how? The Power of the Holy Spirit will enable you to put away worldly desires and replace them with godly desires. It will take some work. It will take saying no to familiar things. It will require discomfort. But it can be done and it will be worth it.
So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. – Colossians 3:5 NLT
I’ve never been sure why there has been a debate on whether porn is ok. Jesus said if you even look at another with lust, you’ve committed adultery, so porn would definitely qualify as sin.
God knows we’re imperfect. He knows our struggle with sin, but He also knows the power He’s given us to be able to overcome sin. We wouldn’t be told to put something to death if we had no control over it or no ability to obey the command. We’re told to put sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires to death and have nothing to do with it. So yes, sex in any form outside of God’s design for a husband and wife would need to be put to death. If the question is how far is too far when the topic is sex related, that’s a pretty good indicator that whatever you’re considering is probably too far.
Get this. Not far behind, greed is mentioned. A greedy person is an idolater. Yikes! A greedy person worships materials over our Master–God. An idolater replaces God with stuff. He replaces the eternal with the temporary.
Put the greed, the immorality, and the worldly desires to death. If there is anything in your life that you believe you simply can’t give up, knowing it’s not good for you, it’s becoming or has become your idol and certainly the thing that needs to be put to death. Ask God to help you do it today!
Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good. – Romans 12:21 NLT
This statement seems easy enough right? Don’t let evil conquer you. Hopefully, most people wouldn’t want that to happen. Certainly, a Christian wouldn’t want that to happen.
If we look through this chapter in its entirety it’s about using your spiritual gifts, serving others, and loving and living in harmony even with your enemies. It’s about choosing kindness rather than revenge when we feel entitled to the latter.
Sin is evil. Any time we’re choosing to disobey God’s will, we’re sinning. So when we opt for revenge, we’re giving evil room in our lives. When we don’t use our gifts to glorify God but for selfish ambition, evil just gained a little more influence. Choosing hurt over harmony is not conquering evil with good.
Let’s not box evil into demonic activity and witchcraft. Evil isn’t just human sacrifice or mass murders. As hard as it is to stomach, those aren’t the only things that are evil. Evil is sin in general. Sin is against the will of God. So we must conquer evil in all its forms with the truth and goodness of God all the time.
After all, we are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus (Romans 8:37).
Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs. – Proverbs 19:11 NLT
There are a lot of ways to earn respect. I’d say this is one of the hardest to me. I’ll call it what it is, pride. My pride makes this a difficult one for me. It’s not that I love pointing out people’s wrongs, I just want to.
If someone wrongs me, I want people to know that they did. There’s some pride that comes from knowing I’m innocent in a situation and they’re not. But that’s not right or sensible.
Sensible people control their tempers. As we’ve read in Romans, the godly let God have His vengeance and we don’t take matters into our own hands. The sensible earn the respect of others by overlooking wrongs against them.
Overlook means making a conscious decision to look over what’s been done to them. It’s not about ignorance, but in essence about forgiveness. Sensible people choose humility over pride, and forgiveness rather than vengeance. They don’t make the easy choice but rather the godly one.
I think that if I could have a power it would be to forgive quickly. No, I don’t want to be gullible or a pushover. I don’t want to be foolish. But I do want to forgive quickly. I don’t want to rid myself of the poison of unforgiveness as soon as possible.
Our pastor said something that will stick with me forever. I can’t remember if it was a direct quote from him or someone else, but either way it’s good. “Forgive first, then find the reasons to forgive.”
If the hard part is forgiving, then make the choice ahead of time to forgive. After that, look for reasons to forgive the person. If you’re a Christ follower you have quite a few:
1) God forgave you. It’s that simple. No one will ever be as offensive to you as your sin is to God, yet He forgives you. 2) Set a Christlike example. If your goal is to be like Christ then your goal is to forgive like Christ. 3) Put yourself in their shoes. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Have you ever said or done something that would warrant you needing to be forgiven? Probably.
So I return to my above statement. If I could have any power it would be to forgive quickly. The truth is, I actually do have this power. So the real question is, what am I waiting for?
Let’s get some back story. God has been sending warnings about the coming destruction of Judah. There’s always hope that they’ll repent and God will turn His anger away, but there is still also always the lack of repentance for Judah’s sins.
Jeremiah and his secretary write a scroll of what the Lord has said, and are advised to go into hiding afterwards. The scroll is sent to the King of Judah and this is what happens:
The king sent Jehudi to get the scroll. Jehudi brought it from Elishama’s room and read it to the king as all his officials stood by. It was late autumn, and the king was in a winterized part of the palace, sitting in front of a fire to keep warm. Each time Jehudi finished reading three or four columns, the king took a knife and cut off that section of the scroll. He then threw it into the fire, section by section, until the whole scroll was burned up. Neither the king nor his attendants showed any signs of fear or repentance at what they heard. – Jeremiah 36:21-24 NLT
We have the picture of the king whose nation is drowning in sin, and he doesn’t care. So much so that he’s taking the prophecies and burning them. This isn’t just disrespectful to Jeremiah, this is an affront to God’s warnings.
Two things stood out to me: 1) We may not actually burn the Bible, but we certainly take out some of the things we don’t like. We move them from our hearts or challenge their validity. Better yet, we attribute them as old requirements not relevant to today. 2) There is no change in the king’s heart posture. We saw this with Pharaoh. And any time a heart isn’t broken by sin, it’s likely going to continue to stay motivated to sin.
After all this, Jeremiah rewrites the scroll and this time God adds a lot more to it. I haven’t read Jeremiah in a while so I can’t say what happens next, but I can say any life that doesn’t involve repentance for sin to God does not end well. And unless that happened for the King of Judah, we can guess where this is going.
Last time we talked about Jeremiah questioning God or rather his questions for God. He asked, just like us, why? Why are the wicked doing so well?
What was pointed out was the heartfelt cry of Jeremiah. The genuine desire to know why people who aren’t for God seem to prosper so much. Why this unfairness?
I believe God’s response probably wasn’t the one Jeremiah wanted, but guarantee it was the one he needed:
“If racing against mere men makes you tired, how will you race against horses? If you stumble and fall on open ground, what will you do in the thickets near the Jordan?
Jeremiah 12:5 NLT
If wicked people are draining you, how are you going to be ready to handle a bigger task? If the prosperity of them is weighing you down how will you be ready for what’s to come?
Note, God never says it’s ok to be wicked. He never says Jeremiah is wrong for his questions. He’s saying this is small potatoes compared to what’s ahead. This is a nation living out wickedness not just some people. So you don’t have time to give up. You don’t have time to throw in the towel on the smaller tasks because there’s a bigger mission at stake.
Today, you might feel like Jeremiah. Or this week you may feel like him. I know I have plenty of moments when I do, but I have to stay mindful there’s something bigger at stake. I don’t have time to sink into discouragement and frustration, and if I do sink, I don’t have time to stay there long.
There’s a race taking place and we can’t lose sight of who our opponent actually us.
For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death. 2 Corinthians 7:10 NLT
Translation: stop apologizing and “repenting” for something you have no intention of discontinuing. It’s not repentance without a genuine disdain for the sin committed against God and a desire to stop.
You’re not really sorry for anything that you plan to continue doing. We’re human. We have slip ups for sure. That doesn’t make them okay, but it does make us human. But willingly sinning and adopting a lifestyle of sin shows what the verse is talking about, worldly sorrow.
You may be sorry because you feel a little bad. You may be sorry because you got caught. You might even think about changing. But it doesn’t go beyond that.
The sorrow God wants for us is to be broken enough to change. It’s the repentant amd sacrificed heart He desires. It’s the disgust and disdain for sin and its barrier between you and God that He wants to see. That disgust for sin is what leads to salvation because instead of enjoying it, you despise it. You despise it because God does, and that’s the transformation of Holy Spirit taking place.