Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed, which is idolatry. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Verse 5 & 8 (NIV)
Yesterday we talked about personal rights and then about “what is right.” Today we take a closer look at the list Paul uses in Colossians 3 and ask ourselves, “Is this really possible?”
Some things are easier said than done. Some things look good on paper but don’t always work in real life. The apostle Paul tells us to put to death whatever belongs to our earthly nature. But is that really possible? If you ask people struggling with an addiction, they will tell you how hard it is to overcome. A resident in a rehab facility said that as long as he was there, everything was fine, but as soon as he got out, he was back to doing the same old thing.
Some Christians teach that when you give your life to Christ, your problems will all be over. Surrender to the Lord’s power, and your cravings will be gone. Ask Jesus into your life, and there will be no more lying, no more cheating, no more profanity. Unfortunately, it seldom works that way. I heard a testimony from a Christian music artist who came to Christ and had absolutely no withdrawal symptoms from a $200 a day drug habit. And that was back in the 1970’s.
However, putting to death our earthly nature is a lifelong struggle. The only way to win the battle is to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit and to make use of the means he provides. For some people that means a rehab center, and for others it means attending meetings for a lifetime. And all of us need the church, the work place of the Holy Spirit, to help us put off our earthly nature and put on good things, such as “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, forgiveness, and love” (Paul’s other list in Colossians 3:12-14). These are the things that need to be a part of your life.
Father, fill us with your power to put away the things that cause us to trip and fall. Guide us to people and facilities that can give us the support we need. In Jesus’ name, Amen.