August 21 I Friday
1 Corinthians 4
“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” —Colossians 3:5
God has given us a mind, the means by which He directs our will. This involves not only a discipline of the mind, but of the will, whereby our genuine desire is to put to death anything outside of the will of God.
Paul says, “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). Paul is not talking about our attitudes and behaviours, but about our position before God. It is in the past tense. We have died. When? Over 2,000 years ago, outside the city walls of Jerusalem. Paul says, “I have been crucified with Christ,” which is true of every Christian (Galatians 2:20). He explains, “Don’t you know that all of us who were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into His death? We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Romans 6:3-4).
To put it simply, what is true of Jesus becomes true of us, because as Christians we are united to Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. There was also a day when what was true of us became true of Christ. Jesus was made sin so that we may be resurrected to new life; one that displays the righteousness of Christ. Paul tells us, “But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips” (Colossians 3:8).
Paul is saying what we need to do is to knock these things on the head because they are contrary to the nature of Jesus Christ who is seeking to express Himself in our lives. Our will has to be involved, because we cannot live the Christian life simply drifting along and hoping it is going to work out. The drift will always be away from Christ to where it is most pleasurable and convenient for us. We live in a strongly secular world, so a discipline of the will is essential to put to death anything inconsistent with God.
The Christian life is lived in relationship with Jesus. In dependence on Him, our lives are intended to display the fruit of the Spirit, not the fruit of the Christian. As Paul writes, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). In verse 25, he adds, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit,” which requires a discipline of the will in which we are committed to live our lives under the lordship of Jesus.
Prayer: Dear Lord, I ask for Your help in putting to death anything in my life that displeases You. Help me day by day to live under Your Lordship. Thank You, Jesus.