Before I start this blog, if you haven’t, check out part one in this series by clicking here. If you already read that post here is a quick refresher: We looked at the first 4 verses of Colossians 3. Basically a good summary of the blog would be to say that we have to work daily to set our hearts on Christ. We have to see those we are in community with as bearers of Christ’s light and namesake. They are adopted children of God, strive to treat each other like that.
So now moving on, let us take a gander at verses 5-11:
5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.[b] 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
I like to call this part of Colossians 3 the “No-No List”.
Okay, before I begin I would like to reiterate that I am writing with the assumption that you are already Christian and reading this, but if you are not please do not stop reading. If you are looking for truth in regards to living in community there is no better tool than scripture.
Paul writes in these 7 verses a list of warnings for the early church. Well they aren’t so much warnings as they are pretty much commands.
You may notice that almost the entirety of verse 5 focuses on purity (or lack there of). I’ll call this the selfish indulgence verse. Paul is making a clear statement of what things are destructive to community. Step one is ANY behavior that is self-consumptive. Selfish desire is the first and easiest way to dispatch community.
You want a quick ditch effort to destroy community? Focus on yourself. You can never serve or love another if you are too wrapped up in your own world. The sinful nature of the flesh is coercive and divisive. It objectifies those around us (lust, sexual immorality) it turns friends into means of gain (greed and idolatry).
If you struggle in any of these areas…trust me you probably do or did… You must see these struggles for what they are. They are corruption of the body. It’s the gang green that swiftly spreads from the leg into the heart. The body cannot fully function when we are putting our own desires (not needs) but our own selfish desires before the needs of those we are called to love and live genuinely with.
Paul says it plainly: “Because of these (sins), God’s wrath is coming.” These sins are not a joke. Ill say again, we are NOT meant to do life alone. When we put our selfishness first we are corrupting those around us without even knowing.
Don’t wait for the moment when someone you love needs you and you abandon them for your own gain or addictions to realize that these aspects of your life need to die.
Moving on… Lets look at verses 7-10.
Boom! If you have Christ in your life you are a NEW creation. Stop acting like the old one. Stop pretending to be what you no longer are. The fullness of Christ lives in you. All his mercy, love, forgiveness and hope. That makes you COMPLETELY new. Trust me, those things didn’t exist in your old life. And with the death of your old life should go the death of your old ways.
So if you are a BRAND SPANKING NEW creation that makes Christian community something NEW and UNIQUE. It’s quite powerful and potent when done right.
Let’s continue with verse 8. Paul is instructing the church to let go of all things that directly attack or ostracize those we are in community with. Any language that tears down others is not to be a part of the Body of Christ. Gossip, foul language, anger, slander…get rid of them ALL. They are pollutants and will rip apart community and those you love and who love you.
This is not a moral issue. This is an issue of cohesive community. We are to be one body. Live like that. I feel like I do not even have to go deep into this verse because if you struggle in these areas you are probably already convicted just by reading verse 8. These acts are not life-giving or love offering.
If you aren’t building up people around you, you are probably breaking them down even if you do not realize it. I am deathly serious about this.
You NEVER know who is watching you or looking up to you. I promise that there are people who are watching closely.
Verses 9 and 10 are very near to my heart. I do not handle lying well. I have been lied to before. I have had my trust broken before. This may be simply because of my own experiences, but there may not be anything more destructive to genuine community than dishonesty.
It may be hard, but we can always forgive the other things. The direct sins against each other are easy to forgive. When we lie…and yes that includes deceiving by “leaving out information” we build up fortress walls between each other.
It will eventually all come out, and when it does it will hurt more than you can imagine.
New Creations do not build up these types of walls. These type of scars last for a very long time. Even as I am typing I am reminded of some of my own scars in regards to trust… and the sting is still there.
Thank God for Jesus and his forgiveness because he teaches us how to intentionally forgive every single day. Forgiveness is not something that happens once…it is almost always a process.
Our likeness is to the Creator and He is not a liar. So do not be one yourself. Vulnerability and authenticity and honesty and communication are essential to have ACTUAL GENUINE COMMUNITY. Without these pieces you will be living in a shadow of what could be.
As for verse 11… I will touch more on it in part three of this series, but it is blatantly clear. We are all one in Christ Jesus. Stop labeling each other in boxes that we cannot possibly ever fit in. Love each other for our differences and work hard to see the Christ in each other.
I hope you read and then reread this post. This was the list of “Do Nots” Next we look at the “Please, Do List”