I am currently preaching a two-part series called, “Different: “What Needs to Go and What Needs to Stay.” The world we live in has changed and changed us. We are all different now. We have different schedules, abide by different rules, face different circumstances, and experience different emotions. What are we to do? How can we adjust to what is different and be different for the better? Personally, I think we do that best by evaluating what needs to go and what needs to stay.
In Colossians 3:5-10, we see some things God tells us that need to go. There are three things Christians must let go of, if we are to be different and make a difference in this world.
First, being different requires dying to sinful passions. Colossians 3:5 says that we are to put to death that which is earthly in us. What are those things we are to die to? Sexual immorality, impurity, evil passion, and greed. Every single day, often every minute of every day, there is a battle between our flesh (old, sinful nature) and Spirit (new, spiritual nature). A Christian’s new life in Christ requires putting sin to death so that we can really live. Sin promises life, but actually brings death, and we are to put to death that which seeks to destroy us. The list of sins the Bible gives us in Colossians 3:5 is not all exhaustive, but does speak to putting to death the evil desires and passions in our heart. As theologian John Owen once said, “Be killing sin, or it will be killing you.”
Second, being different requires displacing sinful postures. Whereas passion speaks more to desire, posture speaks more to attitude and disposition. In Colossians 3:8-9, the Bible tells us what our posture should not be and what attitudes and actions we need to displace. We are told to put away anger, wrath, malice, slander, abusive and profane speech, and lying. Again, this is not an all exhaustive list, but a reminder that our posture should not be one of hate and division, but rather love, honesty, and peace. Simply said, Christians should be known for pure, helpful, honest, and edifying speech. Can you imagine what things would look like if we actually spoke that way to all people? To do so requires displacing sinful attitudes and words.
Finally, being different requires discarding sinful practices. The result of sinful passions and sinful postures is sinful practices. Colossians chapter three helps us see this by saying, “Put off (discard/throw away) the old self with all its practices, and put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” This is a beautiful image. Salvation produces a two-sided obligation for believers: negatively, they must throw off the garment of the old, sinful lifestyle, and positively, they must put on the garment of the new, spiritual lifestyle. A Christian’s new life in Christ is all about being conformed to the image of the One who created them, which first requires recognizing the evil things that need to go. In my next post, I will write about what needs to stay.
This week, do some self-evaluation. What passions, postures, and practices do you need to let go of in your life? Today, and every day, seek to love God and love others, and do so by letting go of things that take you away from doing those two things. Christians…let’s be different and make a difference!