Your life in Christ - the message of Colossians
Paul wrote the letter of Colossians from prison (Colossians 4:10) to a group of Christians he had never met (Colossians 1:7-9).
Colosae is located near present day Turkey. The letter of the Colossians, with its life giving insights, is a testimony to the dedication of Paul to the Lord Jesus Christ and Paul's love for the body of Christ.
A passion for God and a compassion for the people of God is a necessary ingredient to staying focussed on the will of God and free from the pressures life brings our way.
Paul had every opportunity to bemoan how unfair life was to him. Rather, in prison for doing no wrong, he decided to yield himself to the Holy Spirit and allow God to work 'all things out for good'. The letter of Colossians is a testimony to this.
Space will only allow us to highlight one of the many issues Paul addressed in his letter to the Colossians. Some Christians accommodate sin in their life and eventually justify it. Others frustrated by not knowing how to overcome sin learn to live with it. Paul in his letter to the Colossians advocated neither these approaches.
In order to put things in perspective, we need to recognise that, but for the grace of God, we would all succumb to the sin rampaging in the world. There is no sin being committed 'out there' that we do not have the ability to commit.
However, we have been raised above the circumstances in the world.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
Colossians 3:1 (NIV)
It is not what we know that makes us free but whom we know.
We will never cease to be plagued with sin in this world; but we will never again be brought under the dominion of sin. This is a crucial difference we need to grasp.
Rather than wrestle with sin, wearing yourself out in the process and finally succumbing when tired; choose to seek God's face for a deeper revelation of what it means to be 'raised with Christ'. Take your eyes off your weakness and put them on the exalted position of Christ.
You are not a sinner struggling to get free from the tight grip of sin but an 'heir with Christ', raised up together with him with sin trying to pull you down.
Learn to look down at sin not up at it.
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
Colossians 3:2 (NIV)
Once you have acknowledged your spiritual position in Christ, you also need to understand the nature of sin with your intellect - your mind.
Know you are not your habits. The desire of lust is to destroy you. It will never be satisfied until it meets that aim. Often sin will tell you 'do it this one last time'. Nothing could be further from the truth. Only your death will satisfy the lust of sin. You might as well die in Christ.
Have a clear understanding in your mind of the diminished power of sin over your life. Be informed of the deceptive nature of the suggestions that sin presents you; all designed to lure you from your 'heavenly position in Christ'.
Learn to hate the consequences of sin despite the temporary pleasures it presents. Evil thoughts always breed evil deeds. Renewing your mind means getting these facts right.
Renewing the mind is a journey; don't get discouraged at the first traffic stop.
If you happen to fall prey to the devices of sin, never accept the lie that you are now back under its domain. You are not and never will be as long as you step back up to your 'raised position in Christ'.
Mediate on the following verses. They will help in the renewing of your mind.
being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 1:11-14 (NIV)
Posted 7 February 2006