Sanctification with God – Colossians 3:5-7

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.

Deadly Detriments

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.
  • Impurity
    • 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?
  • Lust
    • 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.
  • Greed
    • 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).

Glorious Growth

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?

Combat Training with God – Matthew 4:4

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Jesus must have been reflecting on Deuteronomy the day that the Spirit of God led Him into the desert, exhausted and hungry, to be tempted (this word can also be translated “tested”) by the devil.  Three times the devil tempted Him.  And three times, showing us how to deal with temptation, Jesus quoted the Word of God (Deuteronomy 8:3, 8:16, 8:13).

The Bible tells us that Jesus was tempted in the same way we all are.  He was tempted in the three main areas of weakness that all human beings have:

It is interesting to note that before he tempts Jesus in each of these areas, the devil tries to call into doubt the calling and nature of our Savior – “If you are the Son of God…”  He likes to twist the Word of God – in this case, through omission (compare Matthew 4:6 vs. Psalm 91:11-12) – and is the absolute master of Historical Revisionism: the art of lying.  It’s hard to fight an enemy that you don’t know or understand.

It is much easier to recognize the attacks of the enemy once you understand them.  Sometimes we need to just flee temptation.  But our one and only weapon in the full Armor of God is the Sword of the Spirit.  The Word of God is the Sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17).

So let’s ask ourselves a question:  How rusty is our sword?

A short prayer of preparation:

Lord God Almighty, You are Holy, Holy, Holy.  I thank You that you have shown us how to fight against the flesh, the world, and the devil.  Guide me this day in Your Holy Word that I might have a response to temptation in all of its many facets.  Bring to mind your Holy Word as I go throughout the day, that the sword in my armor may be clean, bright, and sharp.  Help me to stand when needed, flee when needed, and fight when needed.  Father, help me also to recognize when to do each of these things.  Prepare me for battle this morning that I may honor you in every area of life.  This I ask in the precious name of my Lord and Savior, My battle commander, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?