“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. 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.” Colossians 3:5-9 NLT
No one likes to be told what to do, especially if someone is telling you to do what you can’t do. Most people will just accentuate the positive and live in denial that there is evil in the world and an enemy desperate to take them out. Jesus, however, never shyed away from telling people the truth. Real love doesn’t just say the nice things about a person but helps the person see the errant path he is heading down.
Despite the conviction that these verses can procuce, I do want to caution a lot of well-meaning Christians out there who feel it is their duty to use verses like these convict everyone out there. This used to be me when I was younger. Naive as I was, I put myself in a position of being better than everyone. Sure, I never saw it that way. I thought I was doing good. Thanks be to God He saved me from myself and taught me to love people toward Him. That didn’t mean not having difficult conversations, but it did mean that I was so aware of my sin that there was no way I could come from a place of judgement; instead, I learned to come to people out of a place of compassion realizing that I have my own struggles.
Since then, what I jokingly call my second conversion, I have also learned the kindness in verses like these. Nothing in the list above is really helpful at all. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure I’ve tried all of them at one point and see now the destruction they caused my life. I now have a better understanding of what David meant when he said, ” I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free” (Psalm 119:32). When you come to realize that God is trying to save you from heartache, loneliness, despair, and destruction, you begin to to trust in His goodness and kindness toward you and that frees you up to live the life you were meant to live in holiness. Holiness, these days, has been shoved in the background in a lot of Christianity and replaced with love and relationship, but how can you have a relationship with the Lord if you are constantly cheating behind His back. Holiness is not something that should cause you to constantly get down on yourself but should be something we pursue, because we know it brings us closer to the heart of God.
If you’ve been reading my devotional then you probably know what’s coming next so go ahead and spend some time confessing to the Lord the ways you have been cheating on Him in your relationship. If there are some things that you can’t seem to get rid of, confess them to a brother or sister in Christ you trust. Don’t hold back. Ask them to commit to pray with you and for you and to walk with you through your struggle. This is what the body of Christ is for.