“If you want to grow in your faith, then…”
When we want something to change in our lives, we will often do whatever it takes. Whether it’s internal growth or external rearrangements, we’ll change the things we want to depending on how fed up we get. A couple of weeks ago, I had a hard time falling asleep, which normally isn’t the case. I couldn’t get comfortable, my mind was racing, and I finally asked God, “What is this?”
“If you want to grow in your faith, then put to death what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry…“
This phrase repeated itself in my mind as I was trying to go to sleep. I had just finished watching a couple of episodes of a show which had become my guilty pleasure in the last several weeks. The jokes, the sexual innuendos, impure motives of each character became an enjoyment for me. It’s not at all how I would dare live my life, so why not watch someone else do it?
“If you want to grow in your faith, then …put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another.“
The phrase got longer, more specific, and more repetitive. I realized it was a set of verses as it kept on playing through my head until I finally turned on the light and flipped through my Bible: Colossians 3:5-10.
5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.Colossians 3:5-10.
I got to a place where I became too comfortable with the content of this show. It was interesting, pleasurable, and somewhat addicting. There were days when I couldn’t wait to watch an episode or two because I just wanted the amusement it provided. It wasn’t necessarily a bad show at its core. Many of us wouldn’t think twice when watching it (I mean, I didn’t). I thought and felt like it was okay, but God thought otherwise.
Because apart from watching, I was reading the Bible, spending time in prayer, and thinking about all the ways I could expand myself and grow in my calling. I felt just a little stuck, but convinced myself it was part of the process, part of the season I was in. I wanted to grow and move out of this season and go into the next, but something held me back and it was this. God said that if I wanted to grow in my faith, to follow Colossians 3:5-10.
If you want to grow in your faith, then read Colossians 3:5-10.
It’s not so much about the show as it is about what we allow in our lives. What you allow in your life will result in what comes out of it. Often, we go through seasons where we are strong enough in our faith to watch and listen to worldly things so that we can bring Christ into them. We can approach situations with godly wisdom and point everything back to Him with ease and confidence because of the work He’s done in us. But in seasons where you are more vulnerable, demotivated, and tired, is when it’s important to lean into God’s voice and discipline more.
We are often vulnerable before we move into a new season or a breakthrough. Things that normally don’t attract us do because it feels like the ground we stand on is moving. The thing is, it’s you that’s moving and not the ground. It’s as if you’re in the air and see more of the ground, and everything on it is grappling for your attention. But what and to who do you pay attention to?
The Holy Spirit deeply convicted and motivated me to change something in order for growth to happen. I immediately removed and unliked the show from my Netflix app. I just knew if I kept at it, I wouldn’t experience what God held in store for me sooner. The very next day, I felt God move, speak, and work through me more clearly than I did since starting the show. It was as if He cleared a big log off the road I was on and I could keep driving. And He can and will do the same for you about something in your life.
When the Holy Spirit speaks, it’s convicting but not condemning. It’s gentle, yet firm with discipline. He always leads us to truth and holiness, no matter how uncomfortable the process. (John 16:13).
For some, this might seem too intense and overboard, but obeying God is far more important than what we feel. After all, Jesus said, if you love Me, you will keep my commandments (John 14:15). And part of doing so is adhering to the Holy Spirit when He whispers to you which way to go. It’s why we’re set apart from the world.
It always starts out with, “just a little.” But the more you feed yourself with each of these things (sexual immorality, impurity, ungodly passions, evil desires, covetousness, etc.), the more “okay” it becomes and the more off course you get. You become okay with perverted jokes and conversations which don’t build you up (Ephesians 4:29). You dismiss immorality and justify acting out of character. Whereas Jesus called and chose us to live a life set apart from these things.
In these verses, Paul writes that we once walked in these, when we were living in them. That we put off the old self with its practices and put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. And here lies the secret: we must do so.
It’s our responsibility to put off the old self.
It’s within our power to put on the new self.
It’s our duty to be renewed in knowledge after His image.
He called US to do that, and our response is either obedience or disobedience. And your love for God or for the world will prove it.