“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry” - Colossians 3:5
This verse from Colossians describes the call that is upon our lives if we call ourselves Christians: to put to death all of what is in the world, or part of our earthly nature. The wording of this verse in particular shows us the necessity of doing this, which we can see in the phrase “put to death.” This call is not simply to push away what is of the world, but rather to kill the worldly parts of ourselves.
Idolatry is anything that takes our attention and praise off of the Lord and directs it elsewhere, and the things of the world often serve as our biggest idols. You may read this verse as describing only greed as idolatry, but I would argue that rather than simply being greed that is idolatry, it is actually all of these things: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires as well.
Removing our idols, however, is not something we are able to do alone.
It is through the Holy Spirit and our reliance upon it that this is possible. It also takes a great degree of willingness to self examine oneself, as we all struggle with different sins or the same sins in different ways. This might require you to work on this process alongside someone else who might be leading you but at the very least should be holding you accountable. In my own life, some of the sins I have struggled with the most weren't even revealed to me until a fellow believer told me of how they saw it affecting my life and others’ lives.
In short, by putting idolatry to death in our minds and hearts and focusing all of our worship on God, we can begin to truly live into the new lives and identities we have in Christ.
-Mike Stolarz serves on Cornerstone Leadership as part of the Worship Team