Can We Live Out Our Faith?

“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.”— Colossians 3:5 What a violent description!

“Put to death.”

When Paul writes about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus, his teaching is always followed by a call to live it out.

"As a prisoner for the Lord,” he said, “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received” (Ephesians 4:1).

It is hard to conquer our flesh. That’s why Paul used such a violent metaphor. To shed the scales of our lower natures requires resistance and the sacrifice of effort. We live in a soft society, but the Lord wants us to be spiritually healthy and strong, and that requires stretching and straining.

Fortunately, God gives us the grace and strength to do this, because He knows we cannot do it on our own. The Holy Spirit helps us fight the sin that desires to destroy us.

When the apostles wrote of sensuality and materialism controlling, we are told to slay them. Sexual desire, for example, is built into our genes and is not evil in itself. But moral indifference fuels uncontrolled passion, misguided sexual desire, and destructive behavior—which breed unintended and harmful, hurtful consequences.

God gave us something to give us pleasure; sin ruins it and turns it into pain—and often the people who suffer the most are innocent children and unsuspecting loved ones.

Greed is last in the list above, and greed, contrary to a line in a famous movie, is not good.

Greed is the ruthless belief that everything, including other people, exists for one’s personal pleasure and purpose. Greed turns our desires into obsessions and idols, which we worship for what they can do for us.

The irony is, that we are wired by God to have healthy, holy desires that He longs to fulfill in an abundant life—but selfish, evil desires will never be satisfied and leave us hungering for more.

Again, the paradox of the Christian life. “Put to death” all that is not of God in our lives, so that we may truly live.

“Sometimes we don't need another chance to express how we feel or to ask someone to understand our situation. Sometimes we just need a firm kick in the pants. An unsmiling expectation that if we mean all these wonderful things we talk about and sing about, then let’s see something to prove it.” --Dietrich Bonhoeffer