Several years ago, a friend of mine, who is a guitar aficionado, gave me a very valuable guitar. It is an Eric Clapton-signed, limited-edition guitar. I take great care of it, and I would never willingly subject it to harm. It is sacred to me, a fine work of art, so naturally I treat it with respect.
Oddly enough, that is precisely Paul’s reasoning about sin in the life of a Christ-follower. For the first four verses of Colossians 3, Paul has been describing our identity. He says: ‘You died and rose with Jesus. He now lives in you, and your life is safe and secure in him. Get that in your head, and keep it there all the time. Remember who you are.’
Then comes a therefore: ‘Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly.’ Every Christian knows we are not supposed to do these ‘earthly’ things (listed in v5-8), but very few know the real reason why. Most people think we should stop doing these things because God will be mad at us. So they try, using their willpower – which leads to failure and frustration.
This is certainly not Paul’s approach – instead he says, simply: ‘Remember who you are, and act accordingly.’
So who are we? We are in Jesus and Jesus is in us. We are sacred and holy, of immense worth, finely crafted, purified by the blood of the Lamb. We were bought with a great price. Therefore, our behaviour should reflect our identity.
The key to Christlike living and Christlike loving is knowing your sacred value and worth. Just as I would never consider scratching my special guitar, so we should never allow our bodies to wallow in sin, to desecrate the temples that we are.
We are designed to inhabit God. Sin is beneath us, unworthy of us, and can only mar and scar our souls. ‘Take my life and let it be, consecrated Lord to thee.’
I am sacred and special, a holy vessel, a temple of Jesus. Sin has no power over me, and it can only harm me. Therefore, I have no interest in it.
Gracious Abba, I need your help to see myself as you see me. I forget who I am and find myself drawn to sin. But in your eyes it is beneath my dignity. Help me to see it rightly, and therefore naturally turn from it.
How do you feel when you think of yourself as God’s precious, valuable instrument designed to be played by him?
In Christian settings what messages have you received about your sacred worth?