Key verse: Colossians 3:9-10
Big idea: The fullness of the Christian life replaces the emptiness of sin.
Sometimes, you do not really have to make a decision between two things. Peanut butter or chocolate? Why not both? Not every choice is mutually exclusive. But some things are. You cannot go both up and down or east and west at the same moment. Sometimes to get one thing, you must reject another. This is true in the way we spend our time: choosing to spend an hour watching TV means choosing not to spend that hour reading. Staying an hour late at work means choosing not to spent that hour with your family. In Colossians 3, Paul makes clear that this is true about the Christian life. To put on Christ, we have to take off the old self. There is no serving Jesus as Lord while following the inclinations of sin - there must be a transformation.
It should not be hard to trade an empty bag for one loaded with treasure or a dead fly for a faithful dog. But when it comes to turning our back on sin, we seem to struggle. We want to hold onto both, like trying to write new wedding vows that let you be married, but also keep your options open. It is absurd. To the extent that we have our mind fixed on the things of this life which can never satisfy us, we do not have our mind fixed on Jesus who can. It is a game for fools and there are no winners.
Do not miss the order, though. Paul does not say that we should choose to put on Christ and take off Adam over and over again until our score is high enough. He says that if you have been raised with Christ, then you have already undergone this transformation. When you trusted Jesus as your Savior, you were clothed in His righteousness and the old chains of sin were removed. So live like it!
Discussion idea: Make a chart with two columns: "Put off" and "Put on." Work through the passage and list the things that Paul puts in each category. What are some specific reasons it is impossible to live on both sides of the line?
Prayer focus: Paul does not say that we should put off the old self, but that we already have. Pray for the strength to live out what God has already accomplished.