Therefore, if you have been raised with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Keep thinking about things above, not things on the earth, for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ (who is your life) appears, then you too will be revealed in glory with him. So put to death whatever in your nature belongs to the earth: sexual immorality, impurity, shameful passion, evil desire, and greed which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience. You also lived your lives in this way at one time, when you used to live among them. But now, put off all such things as anger, rage, malice, slander, abusive language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another since you have put off the old man with its practices and have been clothed with the new man that is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of the one who created it. Here there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all and in all. (Colossians 3:1-11 NET)
Can people tell the difference between us, as Christians, and those who are not Christians? Throughout Paul’s letters, one theme frequently occurs: if we are Christians, then we must be different from those who are not.
Our interests must change. We are now to be concerned with heavenly things, spiritual matters, “the things above.” We need to develop an interest in what is spiritual and less interest in what is happening on the earth. We’ve put to death our earthly life and now have a new life hidden with Christ in God. This should be seen in what we talk about. As Christians, do our conversations revolve around sports and the weather or do we talk about spiritual matters? Where our thoughts are indicates where our lives are.
Our actions must change. When we put to death our old life when we became a Christian, that also meant that we put to death a way of life that is not compatible with following God. Paul specifically mentioned “sexual immorality, impurity, shameful passion, evil desire, and greed.” This is the way we lived before becoming a Christian. Now that we are Christians, we must get rid of these because these will bring God’s wrath on us.
Our reactions must change. We also need to learn to control our lives and in particular our temper and what we say. “Anger, rage, malice, slander, abusive language” must be put away and everything connected with it such as lying. These are not compatible with living in the image of Jesus.
Think for a minute about our own lives. Are we still characterised by greed, shameful passion, impure thoughts? When people see us do they see someone characterised by anger, rage, slander and abusive language? Can people trust what we say? Can they observe our lives and tell that we are Christians?
We must lead changed lives, lives that are different from those around us. Our lives must reflect “the image of the one who created it” rather than those who live around us. Rather than trying to fit into this world, we need to “keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”
Readings for next week:
22-26 June – a week to catch up on our Bible readings