Colossians 3:5 begins with the phrase “put to death” and it’s directing us to kill a lot of really awful things. For the next several verses, we are essentially told to stop doing sinful things that include a variety of sexual sins but also things like anger, rage, malice, slander, obscene language, and lying. To simply stop doing all of these bad things because we’re afraid of what God might do isn’t how He works. Battling sin is something we’ll always have to do because of our humanity, but it is not the goal of the Christian life. Knowing Jesus is.
We must deprive of power the sinful things that lure us into their grip. Why? Because these old, sinful practices do not go with our new life in Christ. It’s like wearing a pair of winter boots lined with fur on a day where it’s 100°F outside — they just don’t go together. Or offering a newborn baby a T-bone steak — they just don’t go together. And the sinful descriptions in these verses and our new life in Christ — they just don’t go together.
Because of that, we have to make some choices that will go against everything our flesh desires. We have to set up filters on our devices to protect us from things that will be etched into our brains. We must get to the bottom of our anger and rage issues and excuse ourselves from the situations where we get overwhelmed. We need to adjust our speech so that what we say brings life and not death to those within earshot.
Some might say, “That’s just being legalistic by saying we shouldn’t be able to do or say whatever we want. I am free in Christ.” True, we are free in Christ, but when we allow too much of anything, good or bad, we slowly move from freedom to bondage. And, it’s not legalism to put things in place to help protect us and eliminate sin from our lives. That’s called using good judgment and applying sound wisdom.
The reality is, allowing Him full reign over our lives only benefits us. He doesn’t want us to remove old habits and hangups just for the sake of removing them. No, He desires for our lives to be rich and full. That nothing — no issue, no addiction, no fear, no worry, no nothing — will be able to keep us from living our new life in Christ.