Summary: Christians should demonstrate a different lifestyle from non-follower of Christ.
LIVING A DIFFERENT LIFESTYLE
ILLUSTRATION There was this interesting newspaper article that illustrates the importance of mental associations in making decisions. A high school in Virginia offered a course called “Home Economics for Boys.” Obviously, it got very little attention.
So the following year it was renamed “Bachelor Living.” Guess what! The effect was overwhelming—120 boys promptly signed up. The curriculum never changed. It still offered traditional instruction in cooking, sewing, laundry, and money management. But it needed the right image before the students would give the class a second look.
In the Christian life, we cannot just change the name of our lifestyle and maintain the same activities. Changing the title from secular life to that of Christian life is useless unless there are really new ways of life.
1. SET A HIGHER GOAL IN LIFE (vv. 1-4)
The Bible said, “Set your hearts and minds on things above (v. 1-2).” What does it mean?
• That our personal interests are centered in God.
• That one’s attitudes, ambitions, and whole outlook on life are molded by Christ’s
• That one’s allegiance to him takes precedence over all earthly allegiances.
It does not mean that we would withdraw from all the activities of this world and solely engage in contemplation of eternity and heaven. God expected Christians to maintain normal relationships in this world. But there will be this difference…
• The Christian sees everything in the light and against the background of eternity
• The Christian no longer live as if this world was all that mattered
Our union with Christ in His death and resurrection and His promise of future manifestation with Him in glory granted us a new purpose and identity. SEE GALATIANS 2:20 We died with Christ and our lives are hidden with Christ in God because He lives in us. It means that our lives are secured and protected by God. Therefore, we must make His business our business and His priorities our priorities. SEE PHILIPPIANS 3:20; 1 PETER 2:11
ILLUSTRATION A bishop of the early church, who was a remarkable example of the virtue of contentment, was asked his secret. The venerable old man replied: “It consists in nothing more than making a right use of my eyes. In whatever state I am, I first of all look up to heaven and remember that my principal business here is to get there.
“Then I look down upon the earth, and call to mind how small a place I shall occupy in it when I die and am buried. I then look around in the world, and observe what multitudes there are who are in many respects more unhappy than myself. Thus I learn where true happiness is placed, where all our cares must end, and what little reason I have to complain.” —Foster
If Christ is in your heart, then let Christ lives in and through you. You will live your Christian life in the light and against the background of eternity.
2. FOLLOW A DIFFERENT PRIORITY IN LIFE (vv. 5-14)
ILLUSTRATION Going to the U.S. changes our perspective in life in terms of economics, education, family life, and retirement.
Since our basic GOAL is to enter the kingdom of God, our priorities now would change. Instead of giving so much importance on the preservation of life, we must focus on the transformation of life through God’s presence in us.
The Bible says that Christ died for our sins and His death is our own death to sin. Now we are charged to make this death to the old life real in everyday practice. The phrases “put to death whatever belongs to our earthly nature.”” suggests that we are not simply to suppress or control evil acts and attitudes. We are to wipe them out, completely exterminate the old way of life.
The injunction makes clear that the action is to be undertaken decisively, with a sense of urgency. This instruction is not just for the mutilation of the physical body, but for the slaying of the evil passions, desires, and practices that root themselves in our bodies. Transformation happens when sins are discarded and virtues are cultivated.
a. SINS TO BE DISCARDED (vv. 5-11)
Sins related to impurity and covetousness (vv. 5-7)
"Sexual immorality" - illicit sexual intercourse. Originally it denoted the practice of relating with prostitutes; eventually it came to mean "habitual immorality." "Impurity" - includes uncleanness in thought, word, and act. "Lust" - it means uncontrolled desire. "Greed" - suggests a desire to have more without regard of the rights of others. This attitude is identified with "idolatry" because it puts self-interest and things in the place of God.
FIRST, they are sins that incur "the wrath of God."
SECOND, the sins mentioned in v. 5 are those that characterized our pre-Christian experience: "You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived" (v. 7). The verbs--"used to walk" and "lived," are both past tenses--emphasize that this kind of life belongs to the past and that the Christian should be done with it.