Focal Passage: Colossians 3:1-14
Since Jan. 22, 2023, the Bible Studies for Life have been focused on the issue of discerning the voice of God. Issues such as biblical faithfulness, convictional living, in addition to trusting and honoring God have all been in focus. But what’s the ultimate purpose of this series? The final lesson in this series sums up the intent of the series — discerning the voice of God leads us to be more like Jesus. But how? Colossians 3:1-14 is instructive.
God’s voice, our thoughts (Colossians 3:1-4). Being more like Jesus is not just a matter of the heart, but of the mind as well. Often, we ask, “Have you given your heart to Jesus?” We rarely ask, “Have you given your mind to Jesus?”
We must love God with our minds (Matthew 22:34-40). It is a sin to be an unthinking Christian. Mindless faith is an oxymoron. If we have been “raised with Christ” we ought to have a mind that is set on heavenly things.
Being heavenly-minded does not mean we’re of no earthly use. Instead, having the mind of Christ (I Corinthians 2:16; Philippians 2:5) enables us to put to death the deeds of the flesh and to set our hope on Christ’s future appearing. Such thinking liberates us in the here and now to be faithfully brave because we know that this life is not all there is. We hear the voice of God that, in turn, renews our mind and that leads us into a life of effective obedience.
God’s voice, our behavior (Colossians 3:5-9). Thinking leads to doing. Belief and behavior are partners. Behavior can be both positive and negative. Therefore, we are to put to death our earthly nature.
A spiritually renewed mind puts to death sin, leading to a Holy Spirit empowered life of righteous living (Romans 12:1-2). The uncrucified life has the judgment of God hanging over it. In Jesus Christ we have been set free from God’s judgment to a life of the mind set on godliness.
A pattern of sinful thinking and living leads to all kinds of sins — sexual sins, evil desires, idolatry, anger, wrath, malice, slander and filthy language. As Colossians 3:9 notes, we have “put off the old self with its practices.”
God’s voice, our character (Colossians 3:10-14). Anyone can rightly behave for a season unaided by the Spirit of God. But no one can truly be a new person with a character that reflects the person of Jesus Christ apart from the enabling power of God. The “new self” is made new in the knowledge and power of the One who created us. We have been “born again.” It doesn’t matter who we are — Greek or Jew, slave or free — because we have been chosen in Jesus Christ to a life of righteous living and thinking.
As a result, we have been spiritually enabled to be lovingly compassionate, kind, humble, gentle and patient. Further, we can forgive others just as God has forgiven us in Jesus Christ. Love ties together into one seamless garment all the characteristics of Christ-like thinking and living. We are more like Jesus when we hear God’s voice in Scripture and in Jesus Christ, renewing our minds and changing our behavior. B&R