Being a Christian doesn’t start and end when we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, and christianity is more than just a title, it’s living out what you believe. This is why Jesus called people to follow Him, He wants someone to take the journey with Him, He called us to walk with Him and live for Him. Yes, good works aren't the basis for our salvation, but our salvation should bear fruit.
We have been justified before God when we put our faith in Jesus but after that comes sanctification. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” This means that as we live our lives here on earth, God wants to change us little by little until we become more like Jesus.
This life that we live here on earth is the preparation for eternity, which is good because it is a journey we can take one step at a time. Since God designed it that way, we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves when we don’t feel as though we are becoming like Christ quickly enough or when we have setbacks in our progress. As long as we are abiding in Jesus and as long as we allow Him to work in us, He guarantees to take us into this journey of sanctification and He promised that we will bear fruit. We are all a work in progress and that progress occurs by surrendering to Jesus and asking ourselves how we should live to become more like Him.
In this blog, I want us to take a look at the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Colossians about how they should live after giving their life to Jesus, which is still relevant for us today and will inform how we should live our lives while following Jesus.
Putting to death the old self.
Like I’ve mentioned, Christianity doesn’t end in accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, it should be followed by repentance. To repent literally means to change your mind. It means making the decision to live in a way that honors God and living for His will.
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. (Colossians 3:5)
See how the phrase “put to death..” is written in that verse? It is an active verb which tells us that as Christians, it is our responsibility to put behind our old selves so we can live the new life that Jesus has for us. Though it is God who works in us, we still have the freedom to choose whether we will surrender to Him or not.
But now you must also 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. (Colossians 3:8-9)
Know your new identity in Christ
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Colossians 3:12)
After putting to death our old selves, this Bible verse reminds us of our new identity in Christ. It says that we are chosen people, holy and dearly loved by God. This is important because when we know who we are in Christ, it will be easier for us to walk it out.
Since we put off our old selves, we can now clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. These are the new ways of life for us now. As we change inside (identity) it should also be seen outside.
Whatever you do, do it for God.
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17)
Do it all in the name of Jesus.. bearing His name as a “CHRISTians”, we should also live to honor His name. When we look at our lives, do people see Jesus in us? In the way we speak, in the way we do our work and in the way we relate to people, do we reflect His character? Do our lives encourage people to follow Him as well?
These are written not to condemn us but to remind us of our identity in Christ and how we should now live as His children and as a salt and light here on earth.
Some of the practical ways that can help us in our journey is:
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17)
Journeying with other people can help us grow spiritually because we can learn from their testimonies. We will learn to pray for them and allow them to pray for us. We will also strengthen one another through encouragement. We are created to belong and one of the best ways to practice God’s command to love people is through having community.
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (Joshua 1:8)
For us to be able to discern the perfect will of God, we have to be familiar with His character, with His voice, and with what pleases Him. All of those things will be possible for a person who meditates on the word of God day by day.
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed. (Mark 1:35)
Jesus spent time praying and seeking God during His life here on earth and we are wise to follow His example. Praying and seeking God every day is also acknowledging that we can’t do this on our own and we are relying on Him alone.
To summarize, though it is God who works in us, we must also be submissive to His will. We should be actively pursuing Christlikeness by putting to death our old way of living and put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. (Colossians 3:10)
This is easier said than done, but we are on this journey together. We have the Holy Spirit as our Helper and one another provide encouragement, comfort and be reminded of the truths that take us onto the path of righteousness.
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