But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don't lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. In this new life, it doesn't matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us. - Colossians 3: 8-11 (NLT)
Sometimes it seems that Christianity is lacking specificity. We all use the same Christianisms to discuss our faith and how we should be living our lives. We just have to "walk in the Spirit!" Just have the "faith of a mustard seed!" Tell that mountain to move! Amen and hallelujah...and then we have to go home and back to the realities of living a Christian life in a fallen world. We have been examining the opening verses from the third chapter of Paul's letter to the church at Colossae where he outlines specifics for living the victorious Christian life we hear so much about. This is the third installment in this exposition. The first two can be found here:
As we get back into the text at verse eight we see the Apostle Paul getting down to the specifics we all need to be aware of in our walk. In this verse he outlines five things we need to get rid of if we are to find ourselves living this new life in Christ. Note first of all that we are supposed to completely get rid of these things. They have no place in our lives anymore. I think sometimes we can fall into the trap of thinking that minimizing such behavior is good enough. That we are making the effort is all that is needed. Not according to these Scriptures. We are to get rid of them all together!
The first thing we need to be rid of is anger. I know what most are thinking - how can we get rid of something like anger? We must remember that we strive for Christ-likeness knowing that we can never fully attain it. But because we can never fully attain it should make us strive for it all the more. The more we can eliminate anger from our lives, the more our lives will be like Christ's. The dictionary defines anger as "a strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused by a wrong." This is important to understand. Anger does not come out of the clear blue sky. There is a perceived wrong that we sense that causes us to feel angry. Some of the time that wrong is merely perceived and not real. How many times have we misunderstood something we were angry about? But even if it is a real offense committed against us what are we compelled to do according to the Bible:
Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. - Ephesians 4: 32 (NLT)