Read: Colossians 3:1-5
Reflect: Have you ever felt like being a Christian meant following a strict list of required behaviors? A checklist of dos and don’ts with a special emphasis on the don’ts? I have. I’ve read Colossians 3:1-5 too many times to count and heard numerous sermons based on it with the emphasis always centering on verse 5: “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” This is a certainly a checklist of sins you don’t want to commit, but is that the meatiest part of this passage?
I found that death has a way of making us reassess. When my son Anthony died and went to heaven I began wondering if I had been merely “checking the boxes”, trying to prove my acceptability. I became hyper-aware of the temporary nature of life here and began discovering myself filled with gratitude as I focused on the hope of my ultimate heavenly destination. In my new mindset, I began asking where I was investing my time and attention. Did it matter in the scope of eternity? Had I been living from a place of gratitude for what Christ did for me and was I building goals based on the reality and priorities of Heaven? Where was my mind set? Had I been living life on autopilot, adjusting behaviors to make myself “acceptable”? Was I living so I could prove that my life checked the imagined boxes, rather than from a place of worship? Could I live in a manner that was immersed in gratitude for what Christ did for me, with my focus on Christ’s finished work? In response to this new mindset, would I then naturally live out verses 1-4?
My son’s death has me longing for Heaven in a way I never have before. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always looked forward to Heaven but it felt a bit ethereal and far off. Anth’s physical body died but I know that since he received Jesus’ gift of salvation through faith, his life is now hidden with Christ, in glory. Suddenly, Heaven doesn’t feel so mystical and out of reach.
Apply: What about you? Are you “checking the boxes” or responding to God’s great gift of salvation? Are you living in the reality of Heaven? Are you truly living in Heavenly Style?