“For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” (Colossians 3:3-5).
The lectionary readings for this week enjoin us with godly wisdom through the words of Solomon, Jesus and Paul to forsake the ways of the world. We all know what those ways are for Satan and his minions constantly try to tempt us to compromise and ignore God’s Word through various means: academia, politics and, most especially, through the media, TV, books, films, ads, and the Internet. Satan’s message is presented so constantly and subtly that we Christians have a tough time sorting out truth from lie, righteousness from sin. And we fall.
Paul in his words to the believers at Colossi offered words of wisdom to help us all grow into the image of Christ, into spiritual maturity. We must keep our eyes in Jesus, not on the allurements and false promises of joy that the world offers through supposed spiritual secrets or sensual experiences. We are called to put off that wrong way of living and thinking for we have died to sin and become new creatures in Christ. Our Baptism marks and proclaims our entry into the kingdom of God which comes only by death. This death must take its effect over every aspect of our passions, lusts, and selfish desires. This takes time and the disciplined work of the Holy Spirit to accomplish as He motivates us to set aside the old ways and put on the new.
And in this new life we are joined to Christ and so joined to all other believers as well. Men and women, slave and free, black, white, yellow and brown we are all equal in Christ so we should treat everyone accordingly. We are to focus on being tender-hearted and kind toward all people. We to forgive always, even as we have been forgiven. We are never to seek our own agenda. This may disturb us because it will mean we will usually have to quietly accept abuse, scorn, and reproach from our fellow human beings when we are really tempted to justify and defend ourselves to prove others wrong. The good Christian realizes however that his sense of worth and identity come from Christ not other men or the lies of Satan’s forces.