As we discussed in our last installment of our study of Colossians 3, though we are saved from our sins by Jesus Christ, our salvation does not mean that our encounter with sin is over. Though we are dead to sin and alive to Christ, the daily battle to persevere in Christ begins. Paul has reminded us of what we should be doing in this battle. We should be putting to death sinful practices in our lives (v. 5), we should put these things away (v. 8) and we should “put off the old self” (v. 9).
But as we see in verse 10, our perseverance isn’t just about what we put off, it’s also about what we “put on”:
“And have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” – Colossians 3:10 (ESV)
When I go running, I have a process for getting ready. I usually check the weather (especially this time of year) on a device located in the kitchen and then go to my room and take off my regular clothes. Then, based on the weather, I put on my running gear. Because I have a general idea about the weather, I know what to expect when I go outside. Though I really like running, I really don’t like being cold. If I’ve checked the weather and then dressed accordingly, I’m prepared when I step outside.
This is sort of like the Christian life.
When we open our eyes each morning, we kind of know what to expect. We lie there in bed and run down our daily schedule. We try to remember those important things to do that we were’t supposed to forget. We try to remember special things happening related to our children that day. We even know to expect the unexpected; we are sure that some unplanned surprises are on the way, too. In short, we start preparing for our day. Before we put our feet on the ground, we’re preparing ourselves.
As a Christian, we know that each day will bring spiritual battles as well. We know there will be temptations throughout the day for us to choose, as John Piper says, the short-term pleasures of sin instead of the long-term promise of God’s future grace. So, we either throw up our hands right there and surrender to sin, or we prepare ourselves for the fight.
In Luke 9, Jesus gives us these instructions for the daily battle:
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. – Luke 9:23 (ESV)
On a daily basis, our Savior instructs us to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him. As a Christian, this is our daily plan to surrender. No, we’re not surrendering to sin – giving up and throwing a sin party. No, on a daily basis, we are surrendering our lives to Christ and yielding to Him as Lord of our lives.
On a daily basis, we say, “Your plan, Lord, not mine.” On a daily basis, we say, “Your way, Lord, not mine.” On a daily basis, we say, “Your strength, Lord, not mine.”
This is not easy to do. Our sinful selves would rather fight a losing battle in our own strength than to find victory in Jesus. We would rather struggle on our own than turning to the One, true God. It doesn’t make sense does it?
Today, though, we have our instructions for putting on the new self. Putting on the new self means surrendering the old self and putting on Jesus.