So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don't be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. - Colossians 3: 5-7 (NLT)
We hear often about living the Christian life. Living the victorious life. How we are a new creation in Christ. The old is gone and the new has come - hallelujah! Then we have to get back into the grind of life within a fallen world and a backslidden church and if we were to be honest with ourselves; sometime we don't feel so new. Sometimes we feel rather old. Our struggles often revolve around the sense that we know we are supposed be different yet our lives do not seem to reflect it as often as we would like. Even the great Apostle Paul shared this struggle:
I have discovered this principle of life--that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God's law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? - Romans 7: 21-24 (NLT)
The answer of course is Jesus Christ but the application of that knowledge is sometimes difficult to say the least. So we return to the opening 17 verses of Chapter Three of Paul's epistle to the Church at Colossae. We pick up our exposition at verse five to continue to see the instructions God has provided for us regarding living the new life He gave us through His Son. The first part of verse five teaches us to remember that the things of this world still lurk inside if us. They were not magically wiped away at salvation. We are still human and still bound in flesh. Sometimes Christians fail to understand that the battle rages on. This is why the hyper grace heresy is so dangerous; because it encourages one to not worry about sin. We are always bound by the principle of sowing and reaping. If we sow to our flesh we will reap a harvest of pain. If we sow to our Spirit, we will reap a harvest of blessings. This ultimately boils down our struggle. The more we sow to our Spirit - that means do things according to the Spirit, the more we will find ourselves in a blessed condition. The more we sow to the things of this world, the more danger we place our lives in.
Continuing in verse five we see some of the exact things we need to have nothing to do with. The first two deal with actions - sexual immorality and impurity. The latter two deal with our focus, what we think about - lust and evil desires. We must recognize their connection if we are to be successful in avoiding them. Jesus taught:
"You have heard the commandment that says, "You must not commit adultery.' But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. So if your eye--even your good eye [ l ] --causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your hand--even your stronger hand--causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. - Matthew 5: 27-30 (NLT)
Jesus did not just deal with the end result but the heart issue from where it was birthed. We constantly dance with the devil and think we are strong enough in the end to resist the final temptation but our heart is wickedly deceitful amongst all things according to the Bible. Just remember that when we dance with the devil he always insists on leading. This is what God is saying here in Colossians. You cannot expect victory over sexual immorality and impurity without winning the battle over lust and evil desires. Easily said preacher but how do we do that?