PRACTICAL CHRISTIAN LIVING
In Colossians 3, Paul begins the practical section of his epistle after asserting the supremacy of Christ in the church (Col. 1:18). Practical duty follows true doctrine.
1. Set Your Mind On Things Above (Col 3:2). Christians aren’t to be so heavenly minded that we’re no earthly good. Christianity is down to earth, in view of our eternal destiny of heaven. Those who accomplish the most in this life for the Lord are the ones who thought the most of the life to come in heaven.
What do we have in heaven already? We have God our Father and our precious Lord and Savior (Matt 6:9, Col 3:1). In heaven is our spiritual citizenship under Christ’s rule (Phil 3:20) The names of faithful Christians are written in the Lamb’s book of life (Rev 3:5, 13:8, 17: 8), along with our hope of eternal salvation (Col 1:5, Rom 8:24-25, 1 Pet 1:3-4), our prayers (Rev 8:3) and our spiritual treasure (Matt 6:19-24). Such should motivate us to keep our minds centered on heavenly realities.
2. Mortify the Old Life by Renewing the New Life in Christ (Col 3:5-11). The world is filled with sexual temptation, lewd movies, dirty jokes and song lyrics, filthy TV shows, salacious magazine and pornography on the internet. Also, our prosperous society is one of the most materialistic and covetous culture in history. This is not surprising for sinful men to indulge in unbridled lust, whether it is the lust of the flesh or the lust of the eyes. . Christians must take every precaution to resist reverting to the lust of the flesh. Satan offers the illusion that the fleeting pleasures of sin can offer lasting satisfaction. The carnal mass media advocates worldly lusts as natural and normal. Christians are a moral and spiritual counter-culture in this fallen world. People should see that we dress, talk, and choose entertainment that is clearly more “conservative” or upright than the world around us. Christians are positively distinctive (Matt 5:13-16).
More than avoiding evil, Paul also prescribes filling our minds and lives with positive virtues by :”renewing the new self” (Col 3:10ff). This is a scriptural way to “accentuate the positive (the good) and eliminate the negative (the bad). Our Lord seeks to impart his life into ours. He wants to make something out of us, molding us into His image. We allow the Lord to work this spiritual transformation and renewal in us, by know Him better and better. This “true knowledge” comes by study of His teaching and example, meditating daily on it, and then walking in His steps. We become what we choose to think about most (Prov 4:23, 2 Cor 3:17-18).
A key to spiritual growth and renewal is to do something everyday to build up our spirituality. We grow to resemble what we love, which should be Jesus our Lord. The true Christian becomes more and more like Jesus Christ in thought, word and deed. A Christian is a person through which Christ lives, thinks and acts everyday (Eph 3:17).
By W. Frank Walton