So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual sin, impurity, lust, and shameful desires. Don’t be greedy for the good things of this life, for that is idolatry. God’s terrible anger will come upon those who do such things. You used to do them when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language.
Paul is not talking to non-believers in this passage of scripture; he’s talking to born-again, Christ followers. Since he’s addressing Christians, he obviously understood that the salvation experience alone didn’t bring about perfect behavior. It is a daily decision to follow Christ and make correct choices that will bring glory to God.
We wrestle against our earthly, human desires on a daily basis, and Paul is telling us to put them to death. We have to ask ourselves on a regular basis whether our decisions and choices are making our flesh-man or spirit-man satisfied. It will usually be one over the other. If gossiping about your co-worker makes your flesh feel good, but brings about guilt and remorse later that evening, then more than likely, your flesh has been satisfied and your spirit-man is revealing your fault. If telling a nasty joke makes you more accepted by your peers, but later on, makes you feel like you’ve comprised your beliefs, then you’ve chosen flesh over spirit, once again.
We all know when we’ve chosen flesh over spirit; guilt, remorse and regret will usually overwhelm us. We must learn to be sensitive to the spirit BEFORE we make our decisions, then we’ll be able to avoid the guilt and remorse later. We should think about the possible consequences of our choices long before we actually make the choice.
Paul is listing just a small list of behaviors that should not be a part of the believer’s lifestyle. Are you putting these behaviors to death, in your own life? Are you choosing flesh or spirit? According to this scripture, your choice is influencing God’s anger. What a sobering thought.
Re-read the passage above, examine your own life to see if you entertain any of those behaviors. Ask God to quicken your spirit every time you choose your flesh. Pick one behavior from the list above and challenge yourself to work diligently to overcome that behavior in the next week.
Have a great day!