Putting to Death the Earthly

A few years ago, I was leading a high-school Bible study group, and one night several of the students started getting honest about hidden sins. They expressed two things: sincere brokenness and complete frustration. They were broken over their sin, but angry with themselves that they didn’t seem to be able to get victory.

They pressed me for an answer to why . . . why was the pull of sin so strong, so powerful?

Why do we keep returning to destructive addictions?

The short answer is . . . love.

We worship what we love. We crave what we love. We fill our lives with what we love. We submit to what we love.

When we love our sin more than we love God, that’s when we return to familiar—even addictive—sins.

The topic of loving God could fill a book (and has), so I won’t wade too far in. But let me throw out a few thoughts, and then challenge you to run with it and discover more about loving God.

Let your love for Christ grow to such an extent that it outgrows your love for sin.

If you want to know where your heart is—what you really love—consider what your time, energy, thoughts, and finances are most devoted to. Check out this list to see what cravings are driving you . . . and it will be clear what you love.

When we love God more than we love self, it will show up in how we live moment by moment.

Loving God involves:

Getting better acquainted with Him
Paul expresses his desire to know Christ more intimately in Philippians 3. This warrior for the faith, prisoner of Christ, apostle and martyr—at the end of his life is still crying out with the heart of a new lover: “I want to know Christ!” He never grew tired of getting better acquainted with his Savior. We can do the same by studying God’s Word.

Learning His ways
The more we learn about how God operates, the more our love and appreciation for Him will grow. Every page of Scripture allows us to see His ways. When we soak in the reality of what was done at the cross—it gives us a greater understanding of His heart. Observing His grace, love, mercy, holiness, and faithfulness throughout history allows us to learn His ways and love Him more.

Listening to His instructions
Communication is the only way to get better acquainted with someone—whether it’s written or verbal—it’s necessary for building any relationship. Thankfully, our God is not silent. He’s provided a treasure trove of communication for us through His inspired Word. He’s given us instructions to hear and obey. As we listen to His directives, we know Him more, and knowing Him increases our love for Him.

Obeying Him
Jesus made it pretty clear that love for God is demonstrated through obedience to Him. Some may shout “Legalism!” when you’re making tough choices, but if you are truly committed to obeying Scripture (not personal preference or traditions of men), then you are walking in love, not legalism.

Which of these areas do you hope to grow in, as you worship Him today?

As we continue our study of Colossians, take time today to read through chapter 3 and answer the questions below:

  1. Colossians 3:5 gives a strong command. What do you think it means to “put to death . . . what is earthly in you”? Record what Romans 8:13 and Galatians 5:24–25 says about this. What does this mean to you personally?
  1. As you read through the list in verse 5, don’t assume that these are “big sins” that you no longer struggle with. These heart issues can be manifested in ways that seem acceptable. Use the link: to research the Greek definition for each of these terms.


Image courtesy of marin/

One Comment

  • Julie Musil

    You’re so right…the more I read the Bible and the more I get to know Him, the more in awe of Him I’ve become. Each morning when I wake, I now immediately thank Him for His love. What a way to start the day!

    I read chapter 3 last night. Wow. That chapter is absolutely packed with instruction.