Put It Off, Put It On
“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (Colossians 3:5-10).
Do you ever struggle in your thought life with certain temptations or sins that seem to crop up, almost unwanted, from time to time? Every person struggles with some kind of sin in their mind, that often works its way out into our lives in the world. This is why we must focus our minds on spiritual things. But we must do more than that. Look at the language that Paul uses to describe what we must do to get control of the sins in our lives; he uses three phrases, all similar. He tells us to:
“Put to death” our sexual sin, and “Put away” our sins of speech, and “Put off” our old self of these former practices. It’s no coincidence that Paul focuses on these issues. These are the areas of some of the biggest sins in our lives. These are things that Christians struggle with the most. What we think. What we do. How we live.
Then, Paul turns it around and to encourage us with one more “Put” statement. He says, “Put on the new self being renewed after the image of its creator.” We can’t simply put off our sin and expect everything to be right. We must actively replace our sinful acts and thoughts with new acts and thoughts that honor the Lord. God wants you to be like him in your thought and actions. But we cannot do that without putting to death and putting away and putting off the sin that so easily entangles us in our lives. We must replaces these things with purity, peace and encouragement, and Godly knowledge. Then, we shall continue to grow in faith, becoming more and more like Jesus Christ.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).
Just like yesterday, do a spiritual inventory of your thought life. What things occupy your mind the most? What temptations arise? Pray, and ask the Lord to transform your thinking as you give your mind to thinking about spiritual things.