Putting on the New Self {A Study in Colossians}

By January 8, 2014God

A Study in Colossians

The Church in Colossae

The city of Colossae (sometimes written as Colosse) was famous for its textile industry. Shepherds filled the surrounding area with their grazing sheep. Thus, wool was Colossae’s greatest commodity.

The citizens mastered the use of colored dyes as well, creating rich tapestries for trade. At the peak of its economy, a main trade route ran through the heart of this city. With time, however, the Romans built a newer road that bypassed Colossae, which led to its economic demise.

By the time Paul wrote to the Colossians, the city had passed its former glory. Colossae had become a small-town afterthought. But the Colossians still took pride in their textiles.

So Paul used language the Colossian believers were most familiar with. After affirming the full deity of Christ, he discussed the removal of the old sinful self the same way a person would remove one’s clothing.

Some members in the church at Colossae participated in strict rules of self-denial as a form of “cleansing themselves” from sin, so Paul wanted to reiterate that Christ’s work on the cross had already paid the price.

To be spiritually clean and whole was now a matter of accepting Christ’s grace.

In [Christ] you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ. ~ Colossians 2:11 (NIV)

In other words, their old sinful self was “put off” when they received the grace of Christ. Therefore, the bodily asceticism they were subjecting themselves to was not necessary. Their “old self” had already been “put off” like the removal of an old coat.

Christ’s sacrifice was sufficient – once and for all.

Then Paul exhorted the believers in Colossae to “put on” compassion and kindness and humility the same way they would put on a new robe.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. ~ Colossians 3:12 (NIV)

Clothe yourselves.

With compassion.
Kindness.
Humility.
Gentleness.
And patience.

Then notice Paul’s following imperatives: Forgive one another. Put on love. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. Let the Word of Christ dwell in you. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. Give thanks.

When we gather with our HelloMornings groups, we’re delving into the Word together. So let’s review Paul’s list of imperatives and ask the Lord if there’s one additional thing we could do today.

Perhaps we could play worship music in the car.
Perhaps we could write a list of the blessings we’re thankful for.
Perhaps there’s someone we need to forgive?

As we read through Paul’s instructions to the Colossian believers, let’s ask the Lord to reveal to us what that “next step” for each of us might be.

Getting Started

Do you have a favorite worship song you like to sing along with? What did you learn in your reading of Colossians today?

Share with us in the comments.

This post is part of a mini-challenge to study the book of Colossians. The first post of the series can be read here. A free downloadable study guide is available for all blog subscribers. You can find the study at the bottom of this post in your email or RSS feed. If you are not yet a subscriber go here and follow the instructions. An email with the download link to the study will be sent to you after you confirm your subscription. Enjoy!

37 Comments

  • Lindsey says:

    I am so thankfu for your website thos morning. This post was a huge blessing to me. My favorite praise and worship song is Lead me to the cross and Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave.
    The most important thing for me to clothe myself in is gentleness. I have been hving such a hard time emotionally the last few months and I take it out on those around me. Especially the kids. Not cool. Hopefully when baby #4 is born I will feel a little better. But for now it sucks.

    • Novella says:

      Lead me to the cross is beautiful I love to sing that song too. Praying for you Lindsey ! 🙂
      Keep feeding yourself with the word & worship the fruit of the spirits will come.

    • Lindsey, I love “Lead Me to the Cross” by Big Daddy Weave.

      And to clothe ourselves with gentleness is a beautiful thing.

  • Novella says:

    Do you have a favorite worship song you like to sing along with? Yes it’s so many songs I love to sing & sing along with . The first that comes to mind is Where you go I go by Kim Walker
    It makes me cry tears of Joy
    He loves me by David Crowder
    I get the same feeling of joy from that as well.
    What did you learn in your reading of Colossians today?
    God wiped out the charges against us, Christ brings REAL life!

  • Kelly C. says:

    I love ANYTHING by Third Day. Anything. My heart leaps as I sing along to any of their songs. As I mature spiritually I’m finding hymns more moving and meaningful. I rarely hear them anymore, but when I do, they make an impression.

    I have struggled for months over God removing a friendship from my life that has lasted over two decades. I knew the friendship was toxic and not healthy. My friend was a Christian who converted to buddhism. I thought I could have influence in her life through my Christian witness. Well, it was that “influence” that broke the bond we once had. I have mourned that friendship for months now but today’s study opened my eyes and brought peace in my heart. That friendship was, in deceitful ways, drawing my gaze from Him. I am free. I can rejoice in that with thanksgiving. I can continue to pray for my friend and her family, but she is not my “project.” She is His. I’m learning pride is a huge stumbling block in my life that I can no longer ignore!

    Great study this morning… thank you.

  • Julie S. says:

    Favorite song to sing along with (at high volume) “I Am Free” by the Newsboys.

    Scripture takeaway, from 2:13-14,

    13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

    I was dead in sin, but now I’m alive, in Christ, by God’s grace. “My sins are gone, I’ve been set free…” Another song I love, “Amazing Grace/I’ve been Set Free”. Most amazing is the fact I did not deserve this, but God’s love is so tremendous. He loves even me. Praise the Lord!!

    • “God’s love is so tremendous.” Julie, I love how you put that. So true. So true.

      I love “Amazing Grace/I’ve Been Set Free” too. I’m so thankful for the freedom from sin we have through Christ.

  • Rita Tong says:

    A song that keeps coming to mind at the moment is ‘Jesus, be my centre’ – with the busyness of life, this is a good reminder to keep Jesus at the centre of it all. I am loving this Bible study and am very thankful for you making it available.

  • Jessica says:

    One of my favorite hymns at Mass is “Lead Me Lord”. I love it, but for some reason often find myself singing it with tears in my eyes.
    What spoke to me most in today’s scripture passage was in verse 8, “see to it that no one captivate you with an empty, seductive philosophy…” That can be so hard in today’s world where we are exposed to information basically 24/7. That is why HelloMornings is such a blessing for me! Helps to keep me “rooted” in Christ! 🙂
    Have a great day, all!

    • Sarah says:

      I agree, Jessica! There’s so much we can be filling our minds with thanks to the constant stream of info! Good reminder to start each morning in God’s word.

    • Jessica, you’re so right about that. In Paul’s day, the “seductive philosophy” he was likely referring to were the philosophies put forth by the Greeks (like Socrates and Plato) 500 years earlier.

      I suppose no matter what age we live in, there will always be “seductive philosophies” to guard our hearts and minds against. Which is why it’s so important to be in the Word Daily. I’m so thankful for HelloMornings. 🙂

  • Anita says:

    continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6

    My verse from today’s reading.

  • Michelle says:

    Thank you so much for this post.

    I had a hard time grasping whether or not I am saved. This post put it in perspective.
    I am way too hard on myself (legalism) and therefore find it hard to live `in` Christ.
    Christ paid it all, there is not one thing I can do to save myself.
    It’s all about `Grace` regardless of my past, present or future.

    • Sarah says:

      Michelle, I just wanted to say that your comment makes me so super happy. Tears came to my eyes when I read it because -YES! That’s exactly right..you are ‘in’ Christ when you believe him to be the Lord of your life. He’s always with you….just turn toward him.

    • I can also identify. Growing up in a legalistic church environment, I knew ABOUT God but didn’t KNOW God. This made it easy to doubt my salvation.

      Lots of things have helped open my eyes this year, #hellomornings included. If you haven’t read it yet though, Emily Freeman’s book Grace for the Good Girl was a game changer for me and has made my spirit free to explore all the amazing things God has in store. No more shame!

      • LeeAnn, I’m so glad Emily’s words touched you. I too grew up in church knowing ‘about’ God. But I met Christ through His Word when I was 17. And all these years later, it is still so amazing to me that the God of the universe wants to know each us of personally. Just amazing,

      • Michelle says:

        LeeAnn, this sounds like a good book. Thank you for the recommendation.
        Our Sunday class is beginning the book `Bondage Breaker` (Neil T. Anderson)

  • Kristin B. says:

    I am really enjoying this study and learning so much. I have many favorite worship song, however Need You Now by Plumb is one of my top 3. Thank you for this study.

  • Bec says:

    Like everyone there are multiple songs that I love to sing and each has its season. At the moment I love “Glorious Day” sung by Casting Crowns. It fits in with earlier in the week with the looking forward to the joys of heaven, something I think I need to focus on and not let the drab of this world get me down.

    Thanks once again for the beautiful devotion.

  • This mini study has been a great way for me to get back in the groove of morning times, so thank you for putting it together. It also revived our #hellomornings Twitter group from the holiday break.

    My favorite #hellomornings worship song right now is Jen Stanbro’s God Day, written specifically for #hellomornings. It is fabulous. http://www.jenstanbro.com

  • LeeAnn, your words bring so much joy to me. Thank you. To be in the Word, daily, is such a gift. And I’m so thankful for the women here at HelloMornings. What a blessing y’all have been to me. 🙂

  • Crystal A says:

    I fell a little behind because I was sick earlier in the week, but am filling lots better now! 🙂 For Tuesday’s reading – what stuck out to me was in verse 1:29 where Paul says that he is struggling with all HIS energy which so powerfully works in him (emphasis added to his). As a single mom of 5 kiddos, I definitely find myself struggling to find the energy on some days just to make it through the regular tasks of the day – so it was encouraging to see Paul say that we can struggle with HIS energy, the energy of Christ, that is POWERFULLY working in us – that just seems like a spiritual energy boost doesn’t it? Anyway – so I prayed for my friend Jenny that is going through the divorce (with 4 children) that she also was able to rely on the energy of Christ to get her through.

    What stood out yesterday was the command to continue to live in him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in faith, overflowing in thankfulness. It’s so easy it feels like to “jump in and out” of living in Christ, multiple times a day even. If I feel good and I’m in a good mood, living in Christ seems to come fairly easily…but when the day starts wearing on me, and things aren’t going right, I seem to want to jump right back out and either start worrying, or becoming discouraged, or angry. So, to keep in mind to daily continue to live in him, stay rooted and built up, strengthened…those are all such encouraging words to stay connected to Jesus. And I prayed for Jenny to reconnect with Him if she has lost touch along the way.

    Now on to today’s reading! 🙂

  • Crystal A says:

    Oh! And as far as songs go…

    I love:

    “God Shaped Hole” by Plumb
    “Until the Sun” by Pax 217
    “You Never Let Go” by Matt Redman
    “For Such a Time as This” by Crystal Lewis
    “You Are” by the Katinas

  • Crystal A says:

    For today’s reading, I was encouraged to read that when we put on the new self, it is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. So that to me means that when I remain in Christ, I can expect to become more and more like Him as time goes on. It also let me know to focus on things above, not on all the craziness of this world (which can be super hard to do). To continue to refresh my behaviors, putting away the junk, and putting on the good stuff. And to remember that when I do any task, large or small, that I’m doing it for the Jesus.

  • Candy Hamilton says:

    I love, love, love anything by Mercy Me! A top favorite is So Long Self. I can relate.

    Thank you for this uplifting study and group!!!

  • Hello, my favorite is I Give Myself Away by William McDowell 🙂

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