Christian Responsibility: Put On Your New Self

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Happy Monday my friends! Today’s Monday Musings of Grace is something that I’ve been pondering for a long time. Today I want to talk about the responsibility Christian’s have in their own Christianity. We are told to “put on your new self” in Colossians 3. This is our Christian responsibility. Are you ready for the challenge?

What does it mean to put on your new self? Let's talk about what our Christian responsibility is according to Colossians 3 and how we can put on our new self daily.

Colossians 3

Rather than take this passage in bits and pieces, I want to lay it all out before you here. Let’s read Colossians 3:1-17, ESV.

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Break It Down

Now let’s break this passage down. First, it is talking to believers. One of the greatest challenges many Christians have is reading a passage with themselves in mind. I know many times I’ve read a passage or sat through a sermon and thought, “Man I wish so-and-so would be here to hear this. He/she would really benefit from this.”

Guess what? That type of thinking is not only robbing myself of spiritual encouragement, but it is also bordering on pride. So today I challenge you to think through this passage and consider how it applies to YOU, and you alone, as a believer.

Second, I would challenge you to consider that this is written specifically for believers. We are held to this responsibility because “we have been raised with Christ” and our lives are “hidden in Christ”. We have the power of the Holy Spirit to be able to live according to what this passage commands.

Our Christian Responsibility

Ok, now that we’ve got those caveats in mind, let’s talk about this passage. I’ve always been bothered by sermons or preachers who claim how easy it is to follow Christ. Granted, the Gospel is easy. Christ died for you, as a payment for your sin, and whoever believes in Him will have life eternal. That’s easy. It is trust, it is belief, it is a decision.

But what comes after that decision, LIFE as a follower of Christ, is not always easy. The claim that becoming a Christian will magically erase all trial, pain and sorrow from our lives is false. Instead, often times, life as a follower of Christ becomes harder. There is a constant war between our flesh (the things our sinful nature desire) and the Spirit (Christ dwelling in us).

Many might consider this their conscious. Others would say it is just an in-built intuition or nature that tells us right from wrong. However, the Bible clearly says that the flesh and the Spirit are in constant tension. They will always be at war in us and it is our responsibility to follow the Spirit.

For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.- Galatians 5:17″

What does it mean to put on your new self? Let's talk about what our Christian responsibility is according to Colossians 3 and how we can put on our new self daily.

Intentional Living

So, if our flesh and our spirit are in constant conflict, then what are we to do? We are to be ACTIVE in our decisions. The entire passage of Colossians 3 talks about intentionality. Each verse gives us an active choice that we have to make in our daily living. There is nothing passive about these commands. They are all verbs: actions we have to take. We cannot continue to walk in the flesh and expect Godly attributes to ooze from us without making active moment by moment decisions.

Put To Death

The active command we see in verse 5 is that we must put to death worldly/fleshly desires. Whoa. Put to death? That sounds intense. That’s because it is! These are so toxic that we are told we have to kill these desires:

  • sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness

Put Away

Verse 8 is a little less intense, but still just as active. To put something away doesn’t mean to just set it aside. We, quite literally, must shelf these things permanently. We are to put away:

  • anger, wrath, malice, slander, obscene talk from your mouth, and lying

Put On Your New Self

On the flip side, we are told what we should be doing and thinking. Consider for a minute what it means to put something on. When we get dressed each morning, we put on clothes. We put on makeup (maybe… 😉 ). We put on coats and shoes. We even put on attitudes. And what is the reason we put these things on?

To cover us. To protect us.

We put clothes on to cover our vulnerabilities. We put makeup on to cover imperfections. We put coats and shoes on to protect us from the elements.

In the same way, we must PUT ON our new selves. After stripping away and putting to death the fleshly attributes of the world, these are the things we must actively replace them with as protection against the flesh:

  • compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, bearing with one another, forgiveness, love, peace, and thankfulness

How to Put On Your New Self

That sounds like a tall order to me, my friends. The flesh is strong. Anger can rear its ugly head in seconds. Covetousness is basically an American lifestyle staple. Patience is a virtue we all say not to pray for because we might actually have to practice it (which I happen to think is totally wrong….but that’s for another day). We all have areas where we struggle!

So aren’t you thankful that God tells us exactly how to do it?! Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

The Word, Community & Praise

Sounds simple enough doesn’t it? In order to put on our new selves God has equipped us with His Word (the Bible), a community of believers to encourage us, and the ability to give Him all the praise and thankfulness for His goodness in us.

But guess what? That’s. Still. Not. Easy.

Life as a follower of Christ isn’t a cakewalk! We HAVE to be active and intentional, especially in using the resources God gives us to be able to follow His commands.

Read my Bible? Like, every day? Yep. That’s number 1. How can we put on our new self if we don’t immerse ourselves in the Guidebook to life? You wouldn’t try to pilot a plane without putting hours of training and dedication into learning the equipment, terminologies and science behind it. So why would you try to do something even harder, becoming more like Christ, without putting as much study and dedication into it?

Be in community with other believers? Be vulnerable and open to admonishment? You mean I can’t do this all on my very own? No, no you can’t. Did Christ stand alone while He was on earth? Or did he go out and actively choose His disciples to journey with?

But people are messy. People can be hurtful and selfish. Yes. Yes, we are all that way.

Peter denied Christ three times. I bet that stung. But he also went on to start Christ’s church. God uses messy people, my friends. We just have to actively allow others into our lives to reap the benefits of community.

Live with thankfulness in our hearts? That’s not always easy either, is it? But James 1 says to “count it all joy” when we encounter a trial because it produces character traits in us that are valuable. Trials produce: patience, faith and wisdom. Those sound eerily similar to the attributes above that God tells us to put on. 😉

Christian Responsibility: It’s Hard

So after all of that, I just have to say, it will be hard. I’m the kind of gal who tells it like it is, but don’t let the challenge discourage you. It may be hard, but it is SO worth it. Plus, you’re not alone in the challenge. God produces character in you as you actively choose to put on your new self daily. And He gives you fellow believers to walk through the trials with, if you allow yourself to be vulnerable with them.

To live the life that Christ designed for you is one of the most freeing challenges you’ll ever face. Are you up for it? Are you willing to actively engage in your Christian responsibility to put on your new self daily?

If you are, make that commitment to the Lord. Share it with someone you trust. Be held accountable by a fellow believer. Share it with me if you are willing! And I’ll be lifting you up in prayer as you follow through on your active commitment to put on your new self each day.

Be Blessed My Friends,

Sarah Signature

{And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. – Col. 3:17}

Read more Monday Musings of Grace here.

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