Monday, May 12, 2014

Removing the Dead Wood from Our Lives

We are messy when we start.
I have been removing dead trees from our land for about a month or so and it strikes me this job is similar to the work Christians must tackle in their own lives.

We had some dead, rotting trees standing, and in some cases, laying on or beside healthy, green, growing trees. When the two exist together it is messy, ugly, and, frankly, a bit dangerous. Rodents or snakes could live in the mess laying on the ground. Winds can cause trees to fall over and harm others. It is eyesore for the neighbors. In short the dead must be removed for the healthy to continue to grow and to improve the aesthetics.

Similarly, when we come to Christ, we have sin littering our lives which must be aggressively removed if we are to grow and become healthy Christians. Paul makes this point in Colossians 3. In this part of his epistle to the church in Colossia, Paul first instructs his readers to "set your mind on the things above" (3:2). He then charges believers to put to death our worldly nature (3:5). He lists a sampling of what the worldly nature looks like (I will link to the Greek word used): immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed - greed is like idolatry. These are what the old, worldly nature produces and they should be like dead trees in our lives. They need to be removed.

Making progress
Paul goes on to say that we are to throw away the old self (3:9). He characterized the old man with this list: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech. He also includes a ban on lying to one another. These all, and anything else produced from the old nature must be removed because through Christ, we have put on the new man. When we do not remove the old and dead from our lives, our lives become messy, ugly, and frankly, a bit dangerous.

This is not work we must do ourselves. In fact, it is impossible for us to do this work ourselves. It begins when we have made alive through Christ (3:1) and the work continues as we are renewed the more and more we know Christ (3:10). In short, it is the work of Christ on the cross that allows us to be able to remove the old nature from our lives.

Like removing the trees, removing sin from our lives is hard work. It may take some time to get the job done in the manner it needs done. It may be costly but it is worth the cost. You may need the help of a friend to get to the job done. The point is that we must remove the sin from our lives no matter what. The ugly death in our lives must be removed so we can walk as Christ intended us to walk.

Matthew Henry challenged his readers to remove sins from lives. He said,
Mortify them, kill them, suppress them, as weeds or vermin which spread and destroy all about them ... It is necessary to mortify sins, because if we do not kill them, they will kill us.

Finished for now
These were the thought running through my head as I was cleaning out these old trees. More specifically, I began to wonder what were the dead trees in my life that are not only cluttering up my life, but are allowing death to remain in the new life Christ has given me. I would ask you the same question. What dead trees from your old worldly nature is still hanging around in your life making your life messy, ugly, and dangerous? Are you willing to allow Christ to work in you and are you willing to do the hard work to remove these sins from your life?

If you are struggling in an area and would like some help, please comment below or email and I will be willing to pray with you and help you with your questions.