A New Nature{Colossians 3:5-10; NLT}
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. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.

Do you hear it? Do you hear the cry of your heart?

Your heart is crying to be transformed into the person God created you to be. You shouldn’t be ashamed of this reality, for my heart is crying the very same thing. One of the deepest longings we have is the desire to truly live life, and instinctively we know that true life can only be found with the Life Maker. Only God can truly offer us the life that we so desperately long to live.

While many of us have turned to God to find life, many of us are frustrated with the results.

One of the reasons we are frustrated is because we have held on to some of our sin. We have allowed Satan to convince us that these “little vices” are not a big deal and therefore do not harm our spiritual growth. Sadly the experience of our lives tell a different story. When we evaluate our lives we discover that they are not characterized by joy, peace, love, hope, or any other qualities that are to characterize the fruit of the Spirit. In short we are not living the abundant life Jesus promised his followers.

While our small vices may not seem to be a big deal and that we even have them under control, they do, in fact, control our lives. These little pet sins are the way we have learned to cope with difficulties of life.  They are exactly the type of things the world teaches us to do in order to deal with life.

The problem is that God has called us to live as foreigners and pilgrims in this world. In other words, we are not supposed to do things they way the rest of the world does them.  This includes how we cope with pain, tragedy, difficulty, and disappointment.

Not only do we keep them because hey are a coping mechanism, but we also do them because we are addicted to the way they make us feel.  These sins often give us a little high of pleasure that keeps us hooked and  which makes breaking free from their grasp a very difficult and unappealing thing to do. Yet how can we be guided by the Spirit if we are caught in the grasp of an addiction?

Make no mistake about it, these private little sins that we hold on to pose a bigger threat to our relationship with God than we realize. First, they prevent us from loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.  This reality makes these sins idols.  We love our sin, or at least they pleasure we get from it, more than we love God.

Second, these sins prevent us from pursuing God’s will.  Because they are addictions we often pursue them and they we they make us feel above everything else.  If we are addicted to the applause of people then we will do whatever we can to receive that applause, even if that means doing something unethical.

Third, they allow Satan to establish strongholds in our hearts.  He can use that opening to further deceive us and lead us away from God’s will.  As long as we are willing to play in the mud of sin, no matter how shallow it might seem, we will continue to miss out on the celebration of life God wants us to experience.

The apostle Paul wanted to make sure we understood that there must be a throwing off of our old way of life as well as adopting a whole new way of living. We cannot hope to hang on to our old way of life and still follow Jesus. It has to be one or the other.

Paul wrote; Put on your new nature…

This means Christians are to be totally new creations.  The very motivations behind our actions need to be different from the world.  This happens, not when we try harder to be the people God created us to be, but when we surrender to working of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  We are to be guided by the Spirit rather than being guided by the flesh. Being guided by the Spirit in a world of confusion, pain, and doubt will help Christians to show the world that there is a better way to live. We bless the rest of the world when we display the new nature of a Spirit guided life.

As long as we are hanging on to our old vices we will constantly be frustrated with our relationship with God and the life that we are living. Sadly when we aren’t living the life God created us to live, then we are not able to be blessings to the world or to be lights shining in the darkness.  We are created to be blessings and lights and we will be disappointed with a life that makes us anything less.

Please remember that God knows that we cannot change overnight. He knows our weaknesses and our addictions. That is why He is gracious. Grace includes the fact that God gives us the time, the wisdom, and even the strength to change our lives. God wants us to change  and He is pleased with every little step we take as we follow Jesus.

Take some time and ponder what Erwin McManus wrote in Stand Against the Wind:

You cannot follow Jesus and remain the same. The journey itself will change you forever—not only your priorities but your passions. It alters not only your direction but your desires. It transforms not only your actions, but your values. It makes you just like Christ and unlike anyone else. It is nothing less than leaving the fake for the real. There is great risk in abandoning the artificial in pursuit of the authentic (p. 26).

It is time that we abandon the artificial life of sin and addiction and pursue the authentic life of following Jesus. Throw off the old way of living and put on a brand new way of life.

Questions to consider:

  • Why is it so hard for you to let go of your sin?
  • How do you know you are being guided by the Spirit and following Jesus?
  • What does it mean to be a light in the darkness or a blessing to the world?
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