Does it Lead You to Be More Like Jesus?
Christians disagree about God’s will and how to discern God’s will. Some of my professors affirmed that God gives us freedom to make wise choices with broad biblical principles. Other Christians affirm that God’s will for an individual person is very specific. I find it reasonable to affirm both views. As a freshman in college, I believed God called me into ministry. I received clarification as a junior in college that God’s will for my life was to serve as a college professor.
The most important calling of any Christian is to grow in conformity to Christ. Paul identified two keys to becoming more like Jesus. First, the apostle commanded every believer to put away ungodly attitudes and actions such as anger, wrath, malice, slander, filthy language and lying. Paul regarded these attitudes like filthy clothes that need to be discarded. Second, he admonished believers to put on new clothing: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience. He instructed them to bear with one another, forgive one another and, above all, to put on love.
The language of putting away and putting on is the imagery of stripping off old dirty clothes and putting on new clean clothing. When I mow the yard, my wife gently reminds me, “Take off those dirty clothes before you come into the house.”
God’s voice draws our thoughts to the things of God. (1–4)
God speaks to us through His commands to continually seek and set our minds on the things above. Christ is our Life. Our minds, life, goals and attitude should reflect and glorify our risen Lord in heaven. Paul bases his admonition on his earlier teaching. We cannot set our minds on things above through our own ability. The transformation of our thought patterns is a potential reality because Jesus is seated in the posture of a victorious King at the right hand of God.
God’s voice draws us to put to death the earthly nature. (5–9)
Paul commanded Christians to put to death, to crucify, any sinful attitudes and actions that are inconsistent with the resurrected Lord. He warned believers of every age that these sinful actions and attitudes will receive God’s wrath.
The Colossians once walked in these sins and lived in these sins. Paul commanded Christians to put away or strip off the sins detailed in Colossians 3:8–9 as an individual strips off old dirty clothes. In my opinion, verse 10 belongs with this passage. Strip off the sinful attitudes like old dirty clothes and put on the clothing of the new self.
God’s voice draws us to cultivate godly character. (10–14)
Paul highlights in numerous letters the importance of Christian thought patterns. God continually renews our mind to reflect the image of our Creator. Colossians 3:10 recalls Genesis 1:26–27. Adam and Eve were created in the image of God. Therefore, being renewed in godly knowledge according to the image of our Creator suggests followers of Christ must live with a mindset that does not view people in terms of categories of greater or lesser. In Christ, there are no ethnic barriers (Greeks and Jews), religious barriers (circumcision and uncircumcision), cultural barriers (Greeks and barbarians), inside or outside of civilization (Sycthian) or social barriers (slave or free). In place of stripping off attitudes that do not reflect Christian virtues, Paul urges Christians to cultivate Christlike attitudes.
By Mark Rathel
Professor at the Baptist College of Florida in Graceville, Florida