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Archive for February, 2014

Verses 9-10: “Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,”

Back in this current study, I used a story for the analogy I shared on Galatians 3:26-29 (you can look it up on the blog http://www.combingtheword.com ). It was the story of where I had to don old dirty clothes after taking a refreshing, cleansing shower (because, although I grabbed a clean towel, washrag, and underclothes, I forgot to grab a clean shirt and pants). You can re-read the whole story again at the blog link; just search for Galatians 3:26-29.

Regarding the verses above, think about it for a minute. You have put off the old man (your sinful ways) and put on the new man (life in Christ). Why would you want to go back? Growing up on the farm, we raised show hogs for 4-H one year. We’d wash them up, make them look real nice, take them to shows, and compete against other hog owners. Once we were done, and transported the hogs back home, where is the first place these nicely-cleaned, good-looking hogs want to go? You guessed it…right back in the mud hole of their pen. Why? Because they are still hogs.

Even though it is easy at times to slip into old habits, we are not the same when Christ enters our lives; we are changed. We should relish and truly enjoy our freedom in Christ to the point that we never want to crawl back in the mud hole of sin again.

Something to think about.

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Verse 8: “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.”

The Justice Society lay defeated at the hands of the emotion-manipulating Psycho-Pirate; he had enslaved the Golden Age Green Lantern with bitterness and hatred, and the Golden Age Flash with anger. By the power of the Medusa Masks that gave him the ability to project emotions upon his victims, and with his emotionally-captured slaves, the Psycho-Pirate had the members of the Justice Society at his mercy. Only Wildcat remained to defy him: Wildcat, who was in reality Ted Grant, the retired undisputed heavyweight boxing champion of the world. So what chance did a two-fisted palooka who chose to fight crime with his fists and no real super-powers have against this arch-villain? Wildcat challenged the Psycho-Pirate to face him one-on-one; the Pirate blasted fear at Wildcat as the hero stalked toward him, fists clenched in a boxer’s stance in front of his face. By the time the Psycho-Pirate realized that his powers were having no effect on him, Wildcat knocked the villain out with one punch! With the Psycho-Pirate down for the count, Flash and Green Lantern collapsed unconscious, no longer in the villain’s thrall. As his teammates came to their senses, they wondered how Wildcat could defy the Psycho-Pirate’s powers of emotional control. Wildcat responded that “my old coach always told me to never let an opponent see that you’re afraid of him; never look him in the eye. Just keeping advancing on him.” Wildcat’s steely focus kept him from succumbing to the draining effects of the negative emotions that the Psycho-Pirate threw at him.

Paul is telling the Colossians that, in addition to the other sins he mentioned in the prior verses of this chapter, that they should also throw off these negative emotions which can lead to sin as well. Sometimes we can let the devil use these emotions to get the better of us. However, like Wildcat in the story above (from All-Star Comics #68), we need to stay focused on the Lord and His purpose and His will. Emotions are okay in their proper place, but the devil loves to play our emotions against us, especially against us serving God. Also remember: we can’t knock the devil out on our own…but if Jesus is in your corner (Lord and Savior of your life), you’ve got the undisputed champion on your side. He can take the devil down for the count.

Something to think about.

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Verses 5-7: “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.”

In the animated film Planet Hulk, the Incredible Hulk winds up exiled onto a planet ruled over by a tyrannical Red King. Using slave obedience discs, the Hulk is made one of the gladiators, who must fight for his freedom (one of the side-effects of the disc is not only teaching the Hulk the language of the planet, but helping raise his thinking to more than his usual childlike, brutish, “Hulk smash” mentality). Note: if you wish to know the full plot in detail, please check out the synopsis of it on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planet_Hulk_(film) ).

In the climax (okay, this is what they call a “spoiler alert”!), the Hulk helps a band of gladiators and the Red King’s former bodyguard, Caiera, defeat the Red King once and for all with one of his own weapons: a genetically-engineered biological race of bugs called “Spikes” which are sentient pods infecting any humanoid form and turning them into raving, animalistic zombies that can infect others as well (Caiera’s family and village were wiped out by these; she survived because of being one of an ancient “oldstrong” offshoot of her race, which grants her invulnerability and immunity from the Spikes. The Red King’s Death’s Head robot assassins came and eradicated the Spike infestation, thus causing Caiera to serve the Red King out of gratitude). When the Hulk defeats the battle-armored Red King in a fight, he tosses him at the feet of Caiera, declaring that she deserves the opportunity to kill him in retribution for being the real reason Caiera’s family and village were wiped out by Spikes. Caiera in turn tells the king that she isn’t going to kill him…and then drops a surviving Spike she had captured right onto his hand, infecting him. The Red King rushes out of the chamber, calling on his Death’s Head robots to “kill the traitors”; however, the robots are programmed to destroy anyone infected…as the King realizes seconds before being disintegrated by his own security force. Those robots blast him without pause, and without even acknowledging him as the king. They see the infection, and put it to death.

When I read the phrase “put to death your members which are on the earth” (the NIV translation reads “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature”), I thought of that scene. How I wish that we, as Christians, could relentlessly and thoroughly “put to death” those temptations to sin as efficiently as those aforementioned robot guards. We once walked in sin, but thanks to Christ’s saving grace, we are saved from it. However, until we go home to the Lord, we’re still subject to temptation to sin…we don’t “put it to death”…we sometimes let it out on probation! We need to cling to Jesus’s example and not give in. Praise God that even when we do slip up and give in, we’re only a confessing of those sins and repenting of them away from being restored in God’s sight.

One other observation: “Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience”. You think the Hulk can get angry? Believe me, you don’t even want God’s wrath directed at you!

Something to think about.

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Verses 2-3: “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”

There is a scene in the movie The Matrix, where Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) is walking through a crowd of people in the city with Neo (Keanu Reeves). Morpheus is telling Neo about how all the people are still attached to the Matrix, and some are so engrained that they are not ready to be “unplugged”. During this walk-and-talk, Morpheus seems to wade effortlessly through the crowd, encountering no resistance. Neo, on the other hand, is focused on trying to keep up, bumping into people, still looking at “the world” around him, trying to listen to Morpheus…when he gets distracted by a striking blond beauty in a red dress walking past them. His head turning, he follows her with his eyes, until he hears Morpheus (his back to Neo) say, “Are you listening to what I’m saying, Neo?…..or are you looking at the woman in the red dress?” Neo stammers for a minute; Morpheus tells him to “look again”. Turning around the woman is now Agent Smith, one of the Sentinel programs, gun drawn and about to blow Neo’s head off. Morpheus orders Tank to freeze the program; all “the world” around them freezes in time. Neo finds out that this was a training program, designed to teach him about the Sentinel programs that can hijack anyone plugged in the Matrix. It is to teach him where to keep his focus; in Morpheus’s words “if you are not one of us, you are one of them”.

Paul is reminding the Colossians to focus on things of Heaven, not of earth. Similar to how Neo looked at the Matrix world after being unplugged, remembering his “memories” and realizing now that they weren’t real, Christians shouldn’t attach the same importance to things of this world, when it’s a Heavenly world we should be focused on. We serve a Heavenly Father, saved by a Heavenly Son, to be used by Him to do Heaven’s work, while we are here on earth.

Something to think about.

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