KEY SCRIPTURE Colossians 3:1-10
IF ye then be risen with Christ, SEEK those things which are above, WHERE Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. 5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6 For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: 7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
Christian rapper Lecrae said, "old habits die hard, and if you're not careful, the person you used to be can overtake the person you're trying to become."
We all know that old habit die hard, but is our key scripture talking about habits? Or is it talking about sin?
Sin, like anything else, can turn habitual. However, I would like you to look at our scripture and answer this question—Are any of these the habits or characteristics of the Holy Spirit?
Has the Holy Spirit ever been caught in a scandal about fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, covetousness or lies? In all of the Bible have you ever read one swear word or dirty joke—filthy communication? Have you read anywhere in God's sixty-six books that malice, anger and unforgiveness are desirable attributes? That it's okay to keep judgments and hatreds in our heart from the past? Is that what God advises us to do?
Then why do we do it?
We can involve ourselves so often in former vices the Bible condemns, that they become easy. The guilt lessens until those vices become habits without the shame—a locked-in part of our day-to-day activities, thoughts and language. Satan's bait has been put out, and it has hooked us.
Our key scripture cautions and directs us toward the desires of the Holy Spirit. Paul's first word is "IF". This question causes us to reflect on the reality of our salvation, and on the seriousness and depth of our belief and honesty with ourselves." IF, ye be risen with Christ".
Think on Paul's comment. How did Christ become risen? He first had to die. All of Jesus' natural life died there on the Cross. Along with His body, so died every future thought and feeling, along with all future words. Once He gave up the spirit of life all natural things ceased. He rose again three days later to show us that the old stuff dies with Him in baptism. We rise again in newness of life with a new heart, new mind and new tongue. Not with the old thoughts, actions or loose tongue, but the heart, mind and mouth of the Holy Spirit. Paul is trying the explain that our former life and all of our perversions die there on the cross.
If we have answered "Yes, I am risen with Christ", Paul directs us to "seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God" This is a decision and direction.
Then we ask ourselves the supreme question, "Would any of these sins be found on the right hand of God?"
If the answer is NO, then why are they still in our lives?
As we read through the sins, which are many and diverse, we come to a frightening statement in Verse 6. "For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:" These sins were performed by the disobedient, and it brought upon them the wrath of God.
Think on Lot's wife. Lot escaped the wrath to come by facing the direction of safety and running towards it. His wife lost her life by looking in the opposite direction. Why did she look back? Wasn't there enough fear in her of what was going to happen? Couldn't that fear drive her away as fast as her legs would run? Looking back at the old life and all its sin and depravity doesn't come instantly. It turns us slowly, a thought first, then a look, then a taste. One choice at a time, until it becomes normal. I think Mrs Lot created habits and a pathway during her life which ended up dictating her death. Mrs Lot had no time to repent.
King David also tasted the wrong life with Bathsheba. If he held Bathsheba thoughts in his mind when fighting Goliath, he would have lost. That's the way it is.
Had David owned up and ceased his wickedness, it may not have been the headline it became. But he waited until God needed to tell him, and proclaimed it from the mountaintops. David's Psalm 51:10 shows us the way the way back to our spiritual communion with the Holy Spirit. "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me."
The world and all its deception wants you to maintain former characteristics. It wants to kill you off, slow you down, redirect your spiritual life, make you a laughing stock, and change you to be made in the image of Satan. Yet Paul tells us we are renewed. Are you a strong light on a hill or flickering? Let's repent, seek those things which are above, and live that renewed life to the full.
Dear Lord, thank you for the reality of Paul's scripture. I am challenged and searching my heart for anything that is ill-pleasing to you, that conflicts with the working of the Holy Spirit in my life. Please help me to be real in this task and not overlook or dismiss wrong doings for whatever reason.
Photo by Jackson Simmer