Put it to death.

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5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Colossians 3:5-9

Growing with Jesus requires our agency; that’s by design. We participate in the new creation of our character so that it reflects Jesus Christ as Lord more and more often. Always in response to the grace of Jesus we activate the virtues of faith, hope, and love in our spiritual growth. Our life is hidden with Christ; what we are is not yet fully seen. The old nature will cover up our life with Him and the reality of grace unless we respond. We have died; we have been buried with Him in baptism; we and we been raised with Him to new life.

A new morality by God’s grace is available to us. But it requires our participation. “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you.” Putting the old nature to death is an act of faith, hope, and love. What is it going to take for you to break the habituated draw of the old nature of your life? How can we put it to death?

The old nature and its practices must be identified. Paul gives the Colossian Christians two lists so they can see what is inconsistent with the life of Christ. The lists are not exhaustive. But they do highlight two powerful and destructive types of habituated sin common to the old nature.

Sexuality immorality                      Anger
Impurity                                            Wrath
Passion                                               Malice
Evil desires                                        Slander
Covetousness- which is idolatry   Obscene talk

And then Paul identifies a third and related problem of the old nature: lying. Do not lie to one another. The old nature generates lies, especially in regard to the personal and social dynamics of sex, anger, and what we have said. Lying is a means of managing the guilt, shame, and fear. It has nothing to do with the spiritual dynamics required for putting the old nature to death.

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Y(our) Spiritual Grow-Op!

Scripture:  2 Peter 1:5-8

5For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Observations:

Make great effort to supplement your faith

— to keep building up your life on the foundation of your faith.

Peter's Step-Ladder

Not growing this way makes us ineffective and unproductive in our knowledge of Jesus.

Wow, Love is at the top of the “ladder!”

Application:

Do I possess these qualities in a growing way in response to Jesus and the Gospel?

What are we doing to grow in these qualities together?  Do I have a friendship and fellowship that encourages, exhorts, rebukes, teaches, and builds me up to pursue this kind of vision of growth?  Do I have relationships where I am creating a space filled with  grace and truth in which we mutually and honestly pursue spiritual growth?

If the Christian life is not just about “my” spiritual growth but also about “our” spiritual growth, then I have to make adjustments to include others in the journey with Jesus.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, sometimes, often, we are so resistant to growth.  But that’s not the normal life you envision.  Please stimulate our fellowship to grow together.  Your Spirit has put within us the desire to be effective and productive in our knowledge of Jesus.  May we become more Jesus.  Somehow our fellowship must become a spiritual grow-op!  AMEN.