March 17, 2019
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you…evil desire…
First, we have to pull out all the weeds to make room and to prepare the ground for the good and healthy plants. This part of Colossians is very tough and sounds harsh to our ears, but it is linked to the overall plan of God’s salvation, preparing us to receive our inheritance in Jesus Christ in the glory of heaven (a.k.a. “the big picture”) and is a precondition for the positive commands that follow later in Colossians.
Among the many “serious” sins listed in these verses, we also find the ominous “evil desires” (“evil passions,” “unnatural desires,” “wicked cravings,” etc.) in the secrecy of our hearts. At first, these sound rather vague and negligible. After all, these are only desires, not deeds or “fully grown” sins, right? We may flirt a little bit with our favorite desires, indulge our pet weaknesses. I mean, we are only human!
Our thoughts and emotions are the roots of our behavior. The bad mental habits and attitudes we indulge in, shape us more than we may think. Goodness starts deep within. I find the following image helpful: When someone restores an old car, it is not enough to simply paint over the rust. Even if the paint is of the highest quality, the rust will soon reappear and if not quickly treated will destroy the car’s body. The rust must be removed and the rusted parts replaced before the car is painted.
Some things start small, but might become very dangerous, like a lovely and decorative ivy that can eventually destroy the whole façade of a house. Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles us. (Hebrews 12:1) This verse uses the image of a snare, or a climbing plant, maybe even of a constrictor snake! Our problem is that we only see the here and now, the good, comforting feelings a bad habit gives us, but we don’t see around the corner and what will eventually come of it, what fruit, good or bad, our comforting behavior will eventually produce.
Prayer: Lord, have mercy on our stubborn souls! Work in our rebellious and wicked hearts the will to understand your goodness, to obey your commands and to seek your plan. Open the eyes of our spirit to help us understand and accept what is good for us. Amen.