At the moment we place our personal faith in Jesus Christ, tremendous things take place. Colossians 3:1-4 identifies four of these truths:
- I died with Christ
- I am raised with Christ
- My life is hidden with Christ in God
- I will live with Christ in glory
These facts are true of every Christ-follower. Therefore, Paul encourages us to “set our hearts and minds” on them. We are to meditate upon them until we are solidly convinced of their reality. While we live in this world, our lives are secure in Christ. When we leave this earthly life, our eternity with Him will be glorious! All of these four realities are solely true because of the work Christ has already done.
After outlining how I have benefitted from the work of Christ, Paul turns his attention to some of the weeds that I am responsible to pull from my life. Since people come to Christ out of a variety of backgrounds and at different ages, some of us bring a lot of baggage and bad habits with us. With help from the Holy Spirit, some of those habits are easily replaced and new practices are developed. But some of those old ways linger and are harder to dislodge. That’s why Paul uses such strong language when he says, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” (Colossians 3:5)
Sexual immorality is the English translation of the Greek word, porn. Sadly, pornography has dug its claws deep into the lives of many Christ-followers. Try as you might, the urge isn’t easy to overcome. I would recommend either Celebrate Recovery or Pure Desire ministries to help you break free. You will find in both ministries a safe community of people to help you attain lasting change. Another weed is greed. For some, pornography isn’t alluring, but money is. There is the allure that money has the ability to satisfy and insulate you from the disappointments of life.
For others, they may not struggle with pornography or greed. Their weeds that need to be pulled have to do with their tongues. Paul tells them to “rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” (Colossians 3:8) As James points out, our tongue is one of the hardest things to tame.
Just as the weeds in your garden distract your view from the beautiful flowers, so these weeds destroy the beauty of the life of a Christ-follower. And like the weeds in your garden, they are always needing attention and take effort to pull up. There is no room for compromise with the old self; the only solution is that we must put those old ways to death.
Just a note of clarification: Salvation ISN’T based on how good you are and how many bad habits you can replace with good ones. Salvation is ONLY available by believing that Christ paid for your sins when He died on the cross and that He came back to life three days later. Salvation is free, but growth in our love-relationship with the Lord involves weed-pulling.