Hello and welcome back friends. We start with a question: Is following Jesus about new habits or a new self? Is it about living different or being different. Well, the answer is both - but the order makes all the difference.
Back in Colossians 2, Paul explained that following Jesus is not just a set of rules to live by, it’s a new life. Bury the old and put on the new. And today in chapter 3, he tells us how to live that new life. Verse 1:
"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things."
Here's the key: set your heart - and set your mind - above. Think about Jesus. Think about Heaven. Store all your treasures there. Make your biggest investments in Heaven. When life gets you down, always remember to look up. Verse 3:
"For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God."
I like that. "Your life is hidden.” People will wonder what it is that makes you so alive - and it's Jesus. He is your life.
The rest of the chapter is about one thing: die to the old life, and live in the new. Verse 5:
"Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry."
Pay attention to how this works. A Christian stops doing bad - not by following rules, but by killing that part of us that wants to do bad. So in verse 8:
“…rid yourselves of… anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips."
Now stopping sin is easier said than done. So I want to recommend two things. First, study Romans 6 through 8. The key there is to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Second, start a healthy habit of confessing your sins to God and to someone you trust. James 5 says this:
“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed" (James 5:16).
Healing from sin starts with confession and prayer.
And back here in verse 9:
"Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator."
That's the heart of it. Put on the new self. Be the new person that God is renewing. God is continually remaking you in His image. In Genesis 1, God made mankind in His image, but that likeness was broken by sin. Then Jesus came. Jesus is God's image. And He came as a man to give us new life and remake us in Him, restored to the image we were meant for.
And that changes everything. In verse 11, it destroys the divisions between us - divisions of race, color, gender, and status that drive men to hatred, oppression, and war. Galatians 3 says,
"There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28).
We are equal, and we are one in Christ. Unity is our calling. Christians have failed at this for too long, but this is our calling.
And Paul gives us a picture of this new life, clothed in...
“…compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."
In other words, treat people the way Jesus treated people. And forgive as God forgave us. And over all these - love. To follow Jesus is to love.
We are called to peace, so let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. We are called to unity, so serve one another with humility. You may notice that most of the words describing your new self are about the way you act toward others. The new you inside affects how you treat others outside. So serve one another in love. And that's your next new habit: serve others.
Then in verse 18, your relationships are made new at home and at work. Marriage has a new dynamic:
"Wives, submit..." and "Husbands, love..." (3:18-19).
Now watch those words carefully, and remember what we just read in Galatians: male and female are equal in Christ. Yet husband and wife are both called to submission and sacrifice. But submit is not the same as obey. Submission is an act of respect shown among equals, a voluntary attitude of giving in and cooperating. Submission is an act of noble humility, showing respect and honor. That is the high calling of the Christian wife.
And the husband is called to love. Not just feeling, but real sacrifice. Love like Jesus, laying your whole life down for your bride. In other words, the wife gives in, while the husband gives all. For more detail, read Ephesians 5 and 1 Peter 3.
And for today, read Colossians 3. And start some new habits - Bible habit, confession habit, service habit - not to become a new person, but because you are a new person. You are remade in His image.