Holy Living

If you then be risen with Christ, seek those
things which are above, where Christ sits on
the right hand of God. Set your affection on
things above, not on things on the earth.
(Colossians 3:1-2)

We know that as followers of Christ, we are called to live a life of holiness. Our lives should look different than the lives of those in the world around us. In the book of Colosians, Paul gave us complete instructions to teach us how to live lives of holiness. The very first thing we have to learn to do is to seek those things which are above, or heavenly things. We must learn to change our focus from the things of this world to the things of God. We know the things the world offers are temporary, fleeting things, that can never truly satisfy the deepest desires of our heart.

The heart refers to the seat of our emotions: our love, desires, and dearest wishes are products of the heart. How do we learn to set our hearts on heavenly things, rather than earthly ones? Verse two gives us the answer: We have to first set our minds on those things above. The word translated as "affection" is a Greek word meaning "to exercise the mind, or have a sentiment or opinion; by implication, to be mentally disposed in a certain direction; to interest oneself in with care and obedience". Our minds are the center of our intellect, will, and decision. Therefore, whatever we set our minds on, will determine the direction our hearts follow. Thus, if we feed our minds ungodly ideas and images, whether through books, television shows, magazines, computers, or even the influence of ungodly people, then it naturally follows that those are the things that our hearts will desire.

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your
earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust,
evil desires, and greed, which is idolatry. Because
of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to
walk in these ways, in the life you once lived,
(Colossians 3:5-7)
In order to set our minds and therefore our hearts on heavenly things, we must first PUT TO DEATH all the things belonging to our earthly nature. The are all things of the world, and unless we make a deliberate effort to get rid of them, they won't just go away. These wordly practices and desires do not bring us happiness, instead, they bring God's wrath upon those who follow them. We are all born with a sin nature. Children do not have to be taught to sin, it comes natural to us all. We all walked in these ways, before we were saved by God's grace, through our faith in Jesus. We have to put those things to death to be able to set our hearts on things above.

Jesus himself had plenty to say about the importance of where we set our hearts. Whatever is in our hearts is going to come out in our words and our actions. A heart full of ungodliness is going to overflow with evil, just as a heart full of Godliness is going to overflow with goodness.
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings
forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil
treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil: for of
the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45)
God is not only concerned about our actions, but also about our talk. Our speech should be different if we are followers of Jesus. Our words should be filled with God's love, grace, and mercy, with forgiveness and truth being clearly evident. Paul wrote:
But now you must also rid yourself of all such
things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander,
and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie
to each other, since you have taken off your
old self with it's practices, and have put on the
new self, which is being renewed in knowledge
in the image of it's Creator. (Colossians 3:8-10)
We've all heard the joke about the woman who was pulled over by the police. When she asked why he had stopped her, he said " Well, I saw the fish symbol on the back of your car, and the bumper sticker that says "Follow me to Sunday School", so when I saw you flipping that other driver the bird and honking and cursing at him, I figured you must have stolen this car!" This joke emphasizes the fact that the world is always watching everything we Christians say and do!

So how do we rid ourselves of these worldly, ungodly things? It's pretty simple, really: we need to starve them to death. Don't feed immorality, for instance, by watching TV shows and movies promoting immorality. Don't feed lust by visiting porn web sites on the computer. Don't feed anger by refusing to forgive someone who has angered or hurt you. Starve these things to death, and instead, fill up on the "Bread of Life", which is Jesus. When we consistantly fill our minds with God's word, then our hearts will follow our minds and begin to desire the things above, instead of the things of this world!
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new
creature: old things are passed away; behold,
all things are become new. (II Cor. 5:17)
When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, He makes us a new creation. The problem is, sometimes we still dress our new self in our dirty old clothes! Old habits are hard to break; they must be replaced with new ones. We must take off our old habits, and put on our new self: we cannot continue doing the same old things we did before we were saved.
Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off
your old self with it's practices, and have put on the
new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in
the image of it's Creator. (Colossians 3:8-10)
Notice that we don't just take off our old self, we put on a new self. "Put on" means it is a choice: something we choose to do. We must choose to clothe ourselves in God's word every day, that we may be renewed in knowledge, in the image of our Creator. The knowledge here referred to is not general knowledge of everything, but the knowledge of God as Creator of all things. In our sinful state, before Christ makes us new, we often ignore the fact that everything was created by God, and that we are the crowning glory of His creation!
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and
beloved, compassion, kindness, humbleness
of mind, meekness, longsuffering; (Col. 3:12)
Paul assures us that we are God's elect, His chosen people, whom He loves dearly. Do we really appreciate what it means to be chosen by God? As such, we should daily clothe ourselves in kindness, compassion, patience, and humility. In our own power, these things can be quite difficult for us, if not impossible. But we don't have to try to do this in our own strength: these things are the fruit of the Spirit given to us when we give our lives to Christ, and crucify (put to death) the lusts and affections of our flesh.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering,
gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, self-control:
against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's
have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
(Galatians 5:22-24)
God does not call us to do anything that He does not also equip us to do. The Holy Spirit enables us to do what would otherwise be difficult or impossible. The more we put to death our old selves and allow the Spirit to work within us, the more we will experience the Godly fruits we desire. The Bible warns us not to quench the Spirit, (I Thes. 5:19) or to grieve the Spirit, (Eph. 4:30). Again, it is a choice we make, daily or even hourly, sometimes, to put to death our old desires and lusts.
Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another,
if any man have a quarrel against any: even as
Christ forgave you, so also do you. And above
all these things put on love, which is the bond
of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in
your hearts, to which also you are called in one
body; and be thankful. (Colossians 3:12-14)
In addition to putting on these other virtues, we are called to do three other things. First, we are to be forgiving towards one another. As Christ forgave us, we should also forgive others. And over and above all of these things, we are called to put on love, the bond of perfection, or completeness. Forgiveness and love are the hallmarks of Christianity, the things that set us apart from the world.

Likewise, we are told to let the peace of God rule in our hearts. The word "rule" literally means "function like an umpire". In other words, every decision we make and every action we take should come from the peace within us, not from worldly things like anger, bitterness, jealousy, hatred, and other negative emotions. Again, this is a deliberate choice on our part: it doesn't come naturally to any of us. But we are called to live in peace. Romans 8:6 tells us to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. And Rom. 14:19 tells us to follow after, or seek, those things that give peace.

The final thing these verses tell us is to be thankful. Thankfulness is a big thing with God. Being thankful is an acknowledgement of God's goodness toward us. And as God's chosen people, we can be thankful in every circumstance, good or bad. Paul tells us in I Thessalonians 5:18 to be thankful in all things; we can do this because we are assured in Romans 8:28 that our God is working everything out for our good!
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom;
teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and
hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your
hearts to the Lord. (Colossians 3:16)
Then we are to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly, i.e., profitably, for our benefit. This enables us to both teach and admonish one another with wisdom that comes only from God's word. And yes, we are called to admonish one another, warning and even gently reprimanding when necessary. We may even need to be admonished ourselves at times, when we are not acting in accordance with the Word. We have to read and study God's word and allow it to mold and shape our thoughts and actions to have the wisdom to teach and admonish others, and to have the humility to accept admonishment when we need it.
And whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all
in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to
God the Father by him. (Colossians 3:17)
Finally, Paul tells us that everything we say and do should be done in the name of Jesus. People around us should know by our words and deeds that we are God's chosen people. We have been chosen to live holy lives, set apart from the rest of the world for God's glory. Our joy and peace comes not from living for our own desires and lusts, but living in holiness, in obedience to God's word!

To assist you in your Bible Studies,I am very pleased to be
able to add this King James Bible Search Engine.

Enter a word, phrase, or passage:

The results of your search will open in a separate window.
My sincere thanks to "King James Version Of The Bible"
who made this search engine available.