I can completely understand the temptation to spend the majority of our Christian lives in the epistles. They are straight to the point, we have little in the way of cultural barriers, and we can go easily to application. Since I am teaching Prison Epistles this semester, I am immersed in some the greatest doctrine of the Early Church. I am also immersed in the most challenging practices.
The current challenge is Colossians 3. The call is to get our eyes up. We are to fix our gaze on what is above. It’s not about being “heavenly minded” in a way where we dream of gold streets. It’s being heavenly minded in that we get our eyes on the One who sits on the throne.
To have our gaze fixed on the Beautiful One, we need our eyes OFF of what we have normally looked at in our old lives. This is the challenge. There is a need for a “spiritual divorce.” Paul puts it more plainly: “Kill the old self.” It’s like a call for spiritual suicide.
We MUST starve the old life and learn about our new spiritual DNA. The old life is summed up in this thought: “I want what I want.”
Why do we have such intense battles over abortion and homosexual marriage? It’s not about “rights.” That’s the false argument. The underlying principle is serving the god of sex. Even more base is this: “I want what I want, when I want it, in any manner I want it.”
Any kind of sex in any manner in any form and in any way I choose to describe it. We worship at this altar in America.
This is so embedded in us it’s become part of our DNA.
Through Christ, we have a new DNA. THIS is what we put on now. THIS is the great challenge.
In a world that is all about violence and vulgarity, we are called to PUT ON these ridiculous traits:
Compassion, humility, kindness, meekness, patience, love, forgiveness…
How crazy is that? When we can tear down character, insult people publicly, act like idiots on TV and get instant fame, why on earth would we want to do anything else? How silly.
Well, if we want to insist on living as we want, we need to hand over the name “Christian.” It’s not our DNA. If we insist on “I want what I want,” our DNA isn’t about Christ, and we need to cease calling ourselves Christian. Our life is different in Christ. It’s his. Paul said it best in Galatians: “The life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
My DNA is supposed to be different. I need to know how to speak the truth in love. I need to learn how to forgive. Patience must become my hallmark. His word must dwell richly in me.
If I were new to this country and wanted to become a citizen, I would give myself to studying for this citizenship. My citizenship is heaven. I need to study the culture of my new “country.” I must take on that DNA.
Christ is my life.