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May 4 Die to your old nature

Col 3:5 “So put to death*~ whatever in your nature belongs to the earth: sexual immorality, impurity, shameful passion, evil desire, and greed which is idolatry.”

In Colossians 3:5, Paul has just laid out the principles for believers to begin preparing their minds for a heavenly life with Christ.

We are to think like our Master and act like heavenly citizens while we await our Savior’s return.

The word So, or “therefore,” ties this verse to the preceding ones (Col 3:1–-4), with the conclusion that we need to rid ourselves of all aspects of life that are incompatible with Christ and heaven.

The key imperative is to “decide immediately to put to death” sin; this is a concept stemming from the medical atrophy of parts of the body that cease to function due to disuse in sickness. We must “put to death”—-that is, cease to use—-these earthly vices that are common to the unsaved.

This can be accomplished by “setting your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col 3:2). When heaven is your focus, everything else atrophies. May these sins offend us as they do God.

Sexual immorality” originally referred to sexual relations with a prostitute (which is from the root word porneia, from which we also get the word pornography), but it covers any sexual relations outside of marriage.

These evil deeds are birthed in evil thoughts of the heart, which is first defined as “impurity,” or the morally perverse desires of the heart. These desires erupt into “passion,” which is “emotional and uncontrolled lust.”

This mind–set is linked with “evil desire,” which is “a great longing or craving for what is forbidden.” It is called the “desire of the flesh” (Rom 13:14), and “youthful desires” (2 Tim 2:22). Colossians 3:9 describes the worldly “old man” who has to die as “greed,” which is an “insatiableness, covetousness, or the desire to have more,” especially in the context of sexual addictions.

Paul concludes by identifying greed as “idolatry,” as in Ephesians 5:5: “Know that no . . . covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.”

Greed is a form of idolatry because it teaches that acquiring things and striving for personal satisfaction—-instead of knowing God—-are fulfilling goals; thus pleasure and material goods become our joys and idols. Can you be honest with yourself?

“Lord Jesus, You say I must “put to death” the desire for evil in my life. Right now I am deciding to obey You by denying those desires and instead working to ‘put on’ the ‘new man’ who loves and serves You and others by Your power.”

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