Laying Down Our LivesWhat sometimes holds you back from laying down your life for others?
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put to, put on
Though it’s my job to be an actor, I have given my life to God. I am very comfortable and firm in that, but I still have to be on this [TV] show. It’s the number one [rated] comedy, but it’s very inappropriate and the themes are very inappropriate. I have to be this person I am not.”
When an actor said those words in 2012, they ignited a firestorm of well-publicized contrasting opinions. But I’m sure many believers in Jesus can relate. For we too can feel compelled to act in ways that don’t reflect our faith.
As Paul wrote to members of the young church at Colossae, he implored them to live out their “new life with Christ” (Colossians 3:1). Instead of acting like the world, Paul told them to “think about the things of heaven” (v.2). Then, to make his countercultural teaching clear, he contrasted two “puts”:
“Put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you” (v.5). Paul listed a number of ways believers could wrongly follow the lead of the world—sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, greed, idolatry, anger, rage, malice, slander, bad language, lying (vv.5-9). These things, he wrote, all reflect the “old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds” (v.9).
- “Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him” (v.10). The apostle wrote that true believers should reflect holiness, mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, love, peace, thankfulness (vv.12-15). These things mark those who are surrendered to God.
Yes, we can be tempted to act in ways that go against our “new life” found in Jesus (v.11). But as we “put to” and “put on,” we live out a real faith that puts Christ first! —Tom Felten
Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him (v.10).
Read what Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:22-24 and consider who helps us “put to” and “put on.”
What things do you need to put to death in your life? As you strive to put on your new nature, how can you experience the Holy Spirit’s transforming power?
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