Wouldn’t it be wonderful if when we came to faith in Christ and received the indwelling Holy Spirit, we were instantly transformed into perfect human beings! We would flawlessly exhibit the characteristics of Christ such as unselfish love and extraordinary patience. Unfortunately, as we all know, that isn’t the case. Even though Paul tells us that when we come to faith in Christ, we become new creatures (II Cor. 5:17), those creatures still need some work.
For new Christians, the ongoing struggle with old habits can come as a surprise and may even cause some to question their salvation. The fact that Paul has to write the above instructions to believers in Colossae should reassure us that struggling with old habits is common for Christians.
The good news is that now as a believer in Christ, it is possible to finally overcome those old habits and make significant changes to our character. But we can’t do it without the help of the indwelling Holy Spirit. We change through God-help, not through self-help.
However, we do have responsibilities in the process. In this verse, Paul is telling the believers at Colossae to put to death what is earthly in them. He is not telling them to allow God to put it to death. That part was their responsibility and remains our responsibility today. We have to take the initiative. God then gives us the ability to complete the task.
Because Paul uses the terminology of “putting to death”, it tells us that it must be possible to so weaken those earthly desires to a point that they no longer have any effect in our lives. It is a process that we must initiate and continue with the help of the Holy Spirit.
It is an encouragement to know that with the help of the Holy Spirit, there is real hope of ridding ourselves of old sinful habits that don’t really represent who we are and be transformed into the image of Christ. Continue to be diligent to recognize when those sinful habits arise and submit them to the cross.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the privilege of being transformed into Your image. Help me today to recognize and put to death my sinful habits.