Maturity isn’t so much climbing ladder of spiritual expertise, it’s the wholehearted desire for things above, it’s a mind that’s wholly fixed on things above, it’s finding one’s life solely in Jesus Christ, it’s death to the world and the things of the world.
The goal is not to become elite in Christ, the goal is to become mature in Christ. THAT is the big difference between the Gnostic leaders and Paul. Paul was encouraging the Colossians to become mature; Gnostics wanted to to make them strive toward elitism (which only served to reinforce their own elitism). We can fall into this same trap too — we can become so addicted to more information, the latest books, the latest conferences, the latest tweet trends and podcasts, and who’s who in the Christian world. Next thing we know we can find ourselves striving to be elite in Christ rather than mature in Christ. Elitism means you climbed some status ladder based on talent or head knowledge or fame or following some steps, etc.
Maturity means you have grown. No ladder climbing necessary.
Even if you don’t feel it, dress the part (3:12-17). In our day we are so used to just wearing whatever we feel like (which I love!) so what I wear is usually nothing more than a reflection of how I feel that day. But He’s saying, don’t just wear whatever you feel like, PUT ON the right thing! No matter what you feel like, PUT ON these things.
Notice how people constantly self-justify, “I just need to let this out” or “I just need to be honest about this” or “I just need to be real.” Ok that is fine, yes it does say “Do not lie to one another” so certainly we are to be truthful, but that doesn’t mean we just let every negative feeling and emotion “out.” He’s saying, DON’t let these things out, put the away and put something else on! Put away the ratty sweatpants and put on something beautiful, not because you feel like it but because you want to be a gift to the people around you. Not in a fake way but in a faith way.
It takes a whole community to grow people into Christ’s image. Real Christocentric community should be (Colossians 3:15-17):
- A culture of peace (v. 15)
- A culture of thankfulness (v. 15)
- A culture rich with the gospel (v. 16)
- A culture of teaching and admonishing (v. 16)
- A happy culture (v. 16)
- A culture supremely conscious of Jesus (v. 17)
Week 6 of Colossians: Fully Pleasing God
Scripture: Colossians 3:1-17
Teacher: Kari Patterson
Listen or download:
- Download Walk It Out for week 6 (PDF)
things to think about …
- What “things on earth” still carry the greatest weight or present the greatest lure to you? Where are you most prone to still seek and set your mind on earthly things?
- Which “earthly” behaviors are still most prevalent in your life: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, covetousness, anger, wrath, malice, slander or obscene talk? Spend some time asking God to reveal what these look like in real time, and if/how they are present in your heart and daily life.
- What does it look like to “put off” your old-self tendencies and “put on” your new self ways? (Be specific.) How can you talk to yourself more than listen to yourself? How can you be intentional to act out of faith rather than follow the way your flesh feels?
Verse to memorize:
“Set your mind on things above, not on things that are on earth.” —Colossians 3:2
“Think about the things above, not the stuff down here!” —Colossians 3:2
Scriptures: Colossians 3:1-17
3:1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 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.
Audio for this teaching is included in the RENEW Church podcast: subscribe in iTunes here, listen to all Women’s Bible Study messages at Godrenews.us/women, or access the church podcast feed directly here.