Be Less Like the World and More Like God
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. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.
Everyone seems to know what Christians are against. So, why do we still keep doing what say we are against? We know that it is our sin nature. But has the Word of the Living God pierced your heart to the point where you say with disgust and revolt, “I just CANNOT do this anymore!”? So, what are some of the worldly attitudes that Christians are told to stop walking in?
- Sexual Immorality
- In the Greek, porneian. It’s from this word that we get our word pornography. It is unnatural (not-God-approved) sexual conduct. God has sanctioned sexual conduct within the bounds of marriage to illustrate His model of love and physical gratification through mutual submission of a man (humans born with XY chromosomes) and a woman (humans born with XX chromosomes) in a covenant relationship with each other and to Himself.
- If we are involved in sexual conduct outside those parameters, it is time to confront ourselves and bring it to God who, through His word, will instruct us through His Holy Word by the Holy Spirit in proper conduct towards others and ourselves in this area of life.
- In the Greek, akatharsian. We get our word catharsis from it. In this case, it is a wrongful filling of ourselves (a- being the opposite, yielding a filling up rather then an emptying), in this case, a lack of purity. We are to experience God’s character. How can we do that when will fill ourselves with impurity?
- In the Greek, pathos epithumian, or passionate, emotional desire. The outcome of this is best illustrated in the story of Amnon and Tamar. Amnon become so obsessed with sister Tamar (his desire to have her sexually) that he made himself ill. It grew until he finally acted upon it and raped her. Then, after he molested her, he hated her even more than he previously desired to have her. Lust is one of the desires of the heart that is never filled, and whose outcome is often not what is advertised when contemplating and indulging the desire.
- Once lust grows in the heart it always seeks more and more until action is inevitable. Lust can truly consume a person.
- Evil Desires
- In the Greek, kakEn. Strong’s Notes indicates that this is “worthless (intrinsically, such; whereas [this word] properly refers to effects [of worthlessness]), i.e. (subjectively) depraved, or (objectively) injurious.” Brackets and text within brackets added for clarification.
- God builds up, but evil desires destroy not only the person that harbors and exhibits them, but those whom that person interacts.
- In the Greek, pleanexion. It means more-having, or desiring more and more. It is not necessarily covetousness, but rather a lack of contentment with what a person already has, and the desire to increase whatever it is that is seen as insufficient.
We are told something interesting about these. The Greek word for “which” is hEtis, and means “which-any” or “any/all of which”. And God, through Paul, classifies them as idolatry.
Walking in Wrath
Paul goes on to say that these are some of the reasons why the wrath of God is coming. When we engage in these, we are denying the character and truth of God, for ALL human beings are made in the image of God, and are to be the image-bearers of God’s character in this life (and throughout eternity).
We all fall short of the glory of God. We are told to repent. As part of repentance, we need to introspectively examine our lives to see if we are engaging in, holding onto, in agreement with, or otherwise not completely rejecting as evil the things that God holds to be loathsome. To be certain, cultivating these attitudes (aligning our attitudes with the attitudes of God) takes time, determination, and spending time reading, reflecting upon, and praying about God’s Holy Word. In this way, our minds will be transformed through alignment with God’s thoughts and ways.
It is then that as living sacrifices, we will be less inclined to squirm off the altar when we face trials and difficulties in this life. But be of good cheer! We have a Holy High Priest who sits at the right hand of God praying for us and our success in this!
A Qualifying Question
So, let’s ask ourselves a question: Am I spending time each day (each week?) to see if I am harboring a positive, or even neutral, attitude toward the things that repulse God?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, You delight in Your children, and You have chosen not to leave us nor forsake us, even when we fail. Strengthen me this day as I face new and existing challenges that stretch my faith and sometimes, even my ability to breathe from moment to moment. Guard me, guide me, forgive me, and restore me as I navigate this world and my feet become dirty. Wash me clean with the precious blood of Your Perfect Son, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And when I fall, pick me up, dust me off, wipe my tears, and carry me until I can begin to crawl again. This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?