As my wife and I prepare to move this summer, I find myself going through my closet once a week to figure out what else I need to get rid of. Over the past 25 years, I’ve accumulated a vast collection of golf attire and jackets. While I don’t wear every shirt, some of these remain on hangers as they hold great sentimental value. Yet, at some point I have to let go by cleaning out the closet of my past.
So kill (deaden, [a]deprive of power) the evil desire lurking in your members [those animal impulses and all that is earthly in you that is employed in sin]: sexual vice, impurity, sensual appetites, unholy desires, and all greed and covetousness, for that is idolatry (the deifying of self and other created things instead of God). 6 It is on account of these [very sins] that the [holy] anger of God is ever coming upon the sons of disobedience (those who are obstinately opposed to the divine will), Colossians 3:5-6.
The Bible refers to a different kind of closet. Rather than doing a load of laundry, the apostle Paul refers to actions, behaviors and lifestyles you engaged in prior to becoming a Christian. These selfish desires need to be removed permanently, but many new believers find it hard to let go of their past. Just like the clothes still hanging in my closet, you need to rid your life of any former impulses and sensual desires.
That each one of you should know how to [c]possess (control, manage) his own [d]body in consecration (purity, separated from things profane) and honor, 5 Not [to be used] in the passion of lust like the heathen, who are ignorant of the true God and have no knowledge of His will, 6 That no man transgress and overreach his brother and defraud him in this matter or defraud his brother in business. For the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we have already warned you solemnly and [e]told you plainly. 7 For God has not called us to impurity but to consecration [to dedicate ourselves to the most thorough purity], 1 Thessalonians 4:4-7.
In the passage above, the apostle Paul provides a pep talk for anyone struggling to change for the better. Too many people make a public profession of faith, but live most of their lives like a chameleon, blending in depending upon their environment. Perhaps this explains the command in Matthew 16:24-27 to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Jesus. As you take steps toward cleaning out the closet of your past, you’ll begin to experience glimpses of the abundant life that Jesus promised in John 10:10. May the start of a new month kick start the remainder of 2022.
by Jay Mankus