Get Yourself Under Control!
"I wish I had recorded that."Yesterday, as I stood speaking excitedly with my husband about what I have been learning in the book of Colossians I gave him a brief synopsis of the first two chapters in order to explain what I was beginning to study in chapter three. Of course, he patiently listened to all I had to say, even though it was not really new information for him. At the end of my summary I looked up at him and said, "I wish I had recorded that!" because once an idea has run through my thought processes and out of my mouth it is often hard to recall everything to write it down. Some days are like that, which is why I am so thankful that God's Word has been preserved for us. When I want to remember what God has to say, I can open the Bible and read His words.
Paul did not have an opportunity to speak to the Colossians first hand. They did not have a Bible on the bed stand that they could just open up and read. There was no internet or phone service that he could access to get updates on their spiritual growth. There were many false prophets out there claiming to know how God wanted them to live and causing confusion about Christ and His finished work on Calvary. So under the direction of the Holy Spirit he sent them the exact message that God knew they needed to hear.
First he explains how he is praying for them and what he is praying for them - that they would walk worthy of the Lord.
Then he presents Christ as our All in All, the Hope of Glory, the Source of all wisdom and knowledge, our Completer.
He instructs them to be rooted in Christ instead of in the philosophies and traditions of man.
He informs them that they are dead to the world and yet alive in Christ. Our main focus is not to be on outward rituals but on conforming our hearts and lives to Christ.
Then chapter three begins with the big IF. IF you are risen with Christ THEN seek those things which are above. This is not a mere suggestion, but a Biblical mandate for those who would live godly in this present world.
Titus 2:11-14 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
Pursue Heavenly Goals!As long as you are living upon the earth you will need to control your fleshly desires! Yes, we are dead to sin, but we are still living in a sinful body in a self-seeking world full of temptation. Even Paul himself explains in I Corinthians 9:25-27 that he was not exempt from making a conscious effort to control the flesh. What he preached to others he also applied in his own life.
Areas needing inward control definedIn Colossians 3:5-6, Paul describes the inward control that we, as Christians, need to exercise over the lusts of the flesh.
3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6 For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:1. Flee fornication! - Reject all forms of intimate relationships between two unmarried people or two people not married to each other. God ordained the covenant of marriage between one man and one woman. Man has warped God's plan in every way possible with every form of sinfulness imaginable. The world's philosophy about this matter condones promotes that "it's okay if it's okay for you." God calls it sin.
2. Flee uncleanness! - Reject all acts of physical or moral impurity.
"Depart from evil, and do good." Psalm 34:14a.
3. Flee inordinate affection! - Reject improper passion in your life, especially lust, which stems from dwelling on evil thoughts.
"Set your affection on things above." Colossians 3:2a
4. Flee evil concupiscence! - Reject improper longing, especially for what is forbidden. Stop lusting after wickedness! Stop desiring to do evil things.
5. Flee covetousness! - Reject avarice (an insatiable greed for riches)."Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." I John 2:15
I Timothy 6:6-10 deals with covetousness and a unveils it for what it really is.
6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.In verse 10, the words "love of money" also means avarice. The phrase "coveted after" means "stretched forth". It gives the idea of reaching, stretching, grabbing, straining, doing everything within your power, including using deceit, to gain riches. Riches become more important than God. God calls this IDOLATRY, and the desire for wealth in this world has ruined many a Christian.
Reasons for inward controlThese "lusts of the flesh" (I John 2:16) begin on the inside, and many often think that they can hide them from the world, but what is inside will eventually work it's way out. Our lives are open books before the eyes of Almighty God! We need to get control of ourselves! Why? Colossians 3:6 answers this question perfectly.
1. God's wrath is kindled by a Christian living in this manner.
3:6 For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:
2. The children of disobedience are those who continually live their lives in this manner.
3. The children of God need to reject this manner of living because of Whose we are.
I John 1:5-10God did not redeem us for us to live our lives in immorality and idolatry. He did not redeem us to live for ourselves. He redeemed us unto Himself. When Christ returns for His body, the church - those who have been redeemed through His blood, we will appear with Him in glory and give account. What outward testimony do I have for Christ? What inward areas of control do I lack? How many of my goals are driven by covetousness? What should be the all consuming passion of my life?
5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
I am dead yet still alive.
My life is hid with God.
My life is hid in Christ.
My goal - seek those things which are above!
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.