4 Examples to Thrive

In life we are told that experience is the best teacher. That sounds good but it’s false. Guided experience is the best teacher.

We need a guide to get through this life, to learn to live on purpose and for a great purpose. To lead us in how to live to bless.

Paul is that qualified mentor. Colossians 3:1-14 is a perfect example of Paul’s inspired leadership on living the new life in Christ.


1. I will thrive when I get my mind right

Picture Paul as your spiritual trainer standing before you saying, “Okay, I want to get into your head because everything we do begins there. It’s the center of your thoughts, your emotions, and your will.”

In 3:1 Paul urges those who have been “raised up with Christ” to direct their minds upwards. If you are in Christ, if you are associated with the death and resurrection, you are also associated with Christ’s victorious ascension to the right hand of the Father. If you’re associated with Him in His death, resurrection, and ascension, your mind should also anticipate the next stage in the work of Christ.

Paul isn’t suggesting we live each day in a superstitious, out-of-touch la la land, ignoring our lives on Earth and only paying attention to things to come. Richard Melick made the point that Paul is telling the Colossian church that their task was “to call people to Christ and away from earthly things. It was to call people to life.”

Paul is saying we need to take our eyes off the drag-you-down-in-the-ditch, kick-you-in-the-face, and spit-on-you world and instead look to Jesus.

2. I will thrive when I remove the distractions

If you hire a trainer to get you into shape, you can expect them to insist you get rid of a few things that could hold back your progress like the twinkies, the sugary drinks, and the desserts.
Spiritual training is the same way! Paul gives three things we have abandoned to follow Jesus.

  • Sensuality (1-4)

This includes immorality, impurity, passion, and evil desire.

Porneia refers to sexual immorality of any kind from premarital/extramarital sex to prostitution to homosexuality.

Impurity refers to anything that is unclean, unwholesome, or corrupting. Passion/evil desire have to do with dwelling on immoral or impure things. This is coddling sinful desires, obsessing over illicit cravings, and longing for things that are un-Christlike.

  • Materialism (5-9)

This is greed and idolatry.

  • Emotionalism (10-11)

This includes anger, wrath, malice, slander, abusive speech, and lying. You need to set aside uncontrolled negative emotions. This involves the sudden angry outbursts but also the long, quiet stewing, seething, and lingering that devours you.

Paul writes these things to Christians. You might think that once we are in Christ, we wouldn’t have these issues. However, some of the harshest and most insulting letters I’ve received have come from fellow Christians.

3. I will thrive when I understand grace (v. 10-11)

The new life in Christ doesn’t begin with self-reformation or turning over a new leaf; the new birth comes by the Holy Spirit.

If you are in Christ, you have been placed into eternal relationship with God. There is nothing you can do to make Him love you more and nothing you can do to make Him love you less. You are the recipient of divine grace.

4. I will thrive when I put on godly virtues (12-14)

The radical transformation in your relationship with God calls for radical change in your external behavior. Paul uses the analogy of changing clothes and explains that we now wear a new garment of righteousness. Paul’s sampling of virtues is a complete reversal of the three categories of wicked practices from earlier in the chapter.

This sounds great but we need to understand how it works in real life.

Christ won’t force himself. He’ll let you stay just the way you are but he wants so much more for you.

Whatever sinful practice you’re stuck in, replace it with a focus and prayer on the Lord.

Are you trapped with fits of anger? Crippling passions? Idolatry of stuff? Let Jesus rescue you! Jesus is sufficient to be your Lord, Leader, and Guide.
Pastor Chris Williams
To learn more about Pastor Chris and his teaching, visit us on the web at fcfamily.org  and make sure you subscribe to receive these biweekly encouragements in your inbox.




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