READ: Colossians 3:1–4:1
THINK: What’s the focus of your life? What are you known for? What are your highest priorities? What gets your time and attention? If you follow Jesus, then He should not just be a major part of your; He must be your life. That means allowing His Spirit to live through you and develop His character in you, resulting in the holiness this passage talks about. Many people view holiness in terms of what they can’t or shouldn’t do. But this passage contains more positive actions than it does negative restrictions. While the things God tells us to avoid are more than reasonable and clearly for our good, the positive actions clearly benefit us and others. Holiness is not confining; it’s liberating.
RESPOND: What does it mean to “set your minds on things above”? (See 3:2 note.) How should this affect your life in practical ways? What does it mean that “your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (v. 3)? (See Galatians 2:20 note.) What does it mean for Christ to be “your life”? (See 3:4 note.) How do you put to death the things belonging to your earthly nature (vv. 5, 8, 9)? In what way is greed a form of idolatry? (See 3:5 note.) How does a follower of Christ put on a “new self” (v. 10), and how is it continually “renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator”? (See Romans 12:2 first note, and Romans 13:14 note.) Why are the traits in verses 12-14 vital among Christians? How does love bind these virtues “together in perfect unity” (v. 14)? What must you do for the Word of Christ to “dwell in you richly,” and why is this important? (See 3:16 note.) What does it mean to do “whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus”? (See 3:17 note.) How can this help you determine whether things are right or wrong? How does God’s warning in verse 25 apply to all social relationships and how should it affect the way you treat others? (See 3:25 note.)
PRAY: Pray that your thoughts and affections will focus on what matters for eternity. Ask God for a greater hunger for and understanding of His Word. Pray for discernment about behaviors that honor Christ and behaviors that don’t.
ACT: What issues in verses 5, 8-9 do you struggle with most? Trust God to help you exercise discipline in overcoming these tendencies. Then consider which of the godly character traits in verses 12-14 need to improve most in your life. Make a deliberate effort today to practice these traits. Focus primarily on the positive things God calls you to be and do, so you won’t be preoccupied with the negative behaviors He tells you to avoid. If there is an activity or issue that you’ve been questioning in your life, apply the criteria in the 3:17 note to help determine if it’s appropriate.