Smartest thing I ever did was take a lesson from an expert in organizing clutter. His name was… let’s see, it’s around here somewhere… Well, anyway, one of his tips was to take two big boxes and label them, “Keep” and “Pitch.” Then, everything you pick up, toss it into one box or the other. I discovered this system only works if you actually get rid of the “Pitch” box.
A similar task confronts those who are given new life through faith in Christ, sorting through the elements of their old nature and new, keeping the new and discarding the old. Paul explained this process as the logical extension of our having “died with Christ” (Colossians 2:20a) and having been “raised with Christ” (Colossians 3:1a – See the previous post, “Refocus”). In a sense, he said, get yourself two boxes, a “Death” box and a “Life” box. Toss the parts for which Christ died and keep the parts for which He was raised.
“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.”
“But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. – ( Colossians 3:8)
New things Paul listed to put in the “Life” box and keep included:
“…compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” – (Colossians 3:12b-14)
Clutter can be debilitating; it feels so free to finally get it sorted and cleaned out. Similarly, the clutter of old habits and attitudes can wear us down and tangle us up with guilt and shame. Instead of fighting that battle, Paul says, drop all that old stuff into the “Death” box and haul it to the dump. Of course it is not entirely as easy as that. You will probably have to repeat the cleanup from time to time (just like you do in the basement closet!). But the boost you experience each time is worth it.