I'm continuing in the third chapter of Colossians. In the verses I last wrote about Paul had just given some great news. In the following verses Paul described how to respond to that good news.
"Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator." Colossians 3:5-10
In the prior verses Paul explained that we were raised to walk in new life when we were baptized. When we became Christians we became a new creation. However, our old self is not completely gone yet and our new self is not completely perfected yet. Here lies the battle.
We must kill the old man daily.
We are daily in a war against the spiritual forces of evil AND our old self. My old self wants nothing more than to keep on living for himself and to keep on sinning, so I've got to kill him every day.
How do we kill the old man? Well, there are many ways but I want to highlight a few.
1) Feed the new man.
An old Indian parable goes like this: Every day I wake up with two dogs fighting for control of my being. One dog is evil and wants me to be evil as well, the other dog is virtuous and wants me to be, too. Every day they fight and you know which one wins? The one I feed.
2) Put on the new self.
Let the Spirit make you into the new man. Take off the old clothes of sin and put on the new clothes of righteousness. Remove and replace. Take off the sins described in the passage above and put on what is described in the verses that follow: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with one another and forgive each other and on all that put on love which binds them all together. Killing the old man is never just about not sinning, we must replace sin with righteousness. My dad says sometimes we get too busy to sin, spend your time striving for righteousness.
3) Gang up on him.
Let others help you fight him. The old man won't have much of a chance if you invite others to pummel him with you. This means accountability groups, prayers groups, Bible study groups, a mentor... anyway to get with others to work on killing the old man.
4) Prayer .
The old man will only be killed by Jesus in the end. Do all the things listed here, but unless Christ fights for you you're hopeless. Pray and act on what you've prayed and the old man will die.
5) Study Scripture.
Paul says that our new self, "is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator." That means we must be filling ourselves with the knowledge of God. We must study Him so we can become like Him. How can we model our lives after One we don't know? We can't. So, we must study our Creator to know Him and His ways better and better and then place ourselves under that knowledge in order to conform to it.
Every single day we need to kill the old man or he will suffocate our faith. So, use the tools given above and the hundreds of others that are given in other places and kill the old man.
Kill the old man today.