Colossians 3: A Spiritual MOT-Introduction


Colossians 3 - A Spiritual MOT


The following passage is the basis of the Spiritual MOT that follows. It is a rigorous examination of life as it should be lived in Christ, according to the teaching of the Apostle Paul. The reading is from the Amplified Bible.

Colossians 3

1If then you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

2And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth.

3For [as far as this world is concerned] you have died, and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God.

4When Christ, Who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in [the splendour of His] glory.

5So kill (deaden, deprive of power) the evil desire lurking in your members [those animal impulses and all that is earthly in you that is employed in sin]: sexual vice, impurity, sensual appetites, unholy desires, and all greed and covetousness, for that is idolatry (the deifying of self and other created things instead of God).

6It is on account of these [very sins] that the [holy] anger of God is ever coming upon the sons of disobedience (those who are obstinately opposed to the divine will),

7Among whom you also once walked, when you were living in and addicted to [such practices].

8But now put away and rid yourselves [completely] of all these things: anger, rage, bad feeling toward others, curses and slander, and foulmouthed abuse and shameful utterances from your lips!

9Do not lie to one another, for you have stripped off the old (unregenerate) self with its evil practices,

10And have clothed yourselves with the new [spiritual self], which is [ever in the process of being] renewed and remoulded into [fuller and more perfect knowledge upon] knowledge after the image (the likeness) of Him Who created it.

11[In this new creation all distinctions vanish.] There is no room for and there can be neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, [nor difference between nations whether alien] barbarians or Scythians [who are the most savage of all], nor slave or free man; but Christ is all and in all [everything and everywhere, to all men, without distinction of person].

12Clothe yourselves therefore, as God's own chosen ones (His own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behaviour marked by] tender-hearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper].

13Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive].

14And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony].

15And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ's] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].

16Let the word [spoken by] Christ (the Messiah) have its home [in your hearts and minds] and dwell in you in [all its] richness, as you teach and admonish and train one another in all insight and intelligence and wisdom [in spiritual things, and as you sing] psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody to God with [His] grace in your hearts.

17And whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus and in [dependence upon] His Person, giving praise to God the Father through Him.

18Wives, be subject to your husbands [subordinate and adapt yourselves to them], as is right and fitting and your proper duty in the Lord.

19Husbands, love your wives [be affectionate and sympathetic with them] and do not be harsh or bitter or resentful toward them.

20Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is pleasing to the Lord.

21Fathers, do not provoke or irritate or fret your children [do not be hard on them or harass them], lest they become discouraged and sullen and morose and feel inferior and frustrated. [Do not break their spirit.]

22Servants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not only when their eyes are on you as pleasers of men, but in simplicity of purpose [with all your heart] because of your reverence for the Lord and as a sincere expression of your devotion to Him.

23Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily (from the soul), as [something done] for the Lord and not for men,

24Knowing [with all certainty] that it is from the Lord [and not from men] that you will receive the inheritance which is your [real] reward. [The One Whom] you are actually serving [is] the Lord Christ (the Messiah).

25For he who deals wrongfully will [reap the fruit of his folly and] be punished for his wrongdoing. And [with God] there is no partiality [no matter what a person's position may be, whether he is the slave or the master].





The hymn “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind” expresses the longing of the Christian heart to be free from sin, at peace with itself, God, and other people, and be closer to God.  This is surely what every believer wants, but often finds so elusive. One of the lines in that great hymn has the request, “reclothe us in our rightful mind,” and this is the theme of this study: the battle to establish a Christian mind, a way of thinking that embraces the mind and purposes of God and will create a foundation for a life lived in a manner that is worthy of Christ. It is also an attempt at an honest reflection of my own life, as I have engaged [or not, as was often the case] in the struggle to conform my life more and more to that of Jesus Christ.

Paul, when he writes to the believers in Colossae, uses the image of undressing and dressing. He wants us to take off the old clothes of sinful habits, attitudes and feelings and to re-clothe ourselves in the new garments of godliness. To put it simply, it is off with old and on with the new. We have to know what this means – in other words, a renewed mind must be at the centre of a renewed life. It must be a mind that goes on being renewed every day.

I want to use Colossians 3 for the theme of this study –

 “An honest man struggles with his faith.”

The subtext of the study could be, “An attempt to look at my life through the eyes of Colossians 3, and therefore through the eyes of God, and be honest about what I see.” All believers and true disciples of Jesus, if we are to be honest, will always struggle to be like Jesus. Paul, who wrote Colossians, sometimes got quite down and depressed in the honest struggle of faith. Here is how he describes this struggle in Romans 7:


“14The law is good, then. The trouble is not with the law but with me, because I am sold into slavery, with sin as my master. 15I don't understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do the very thing I hate. 16I know perfectly well that what I am doing is wrong, and my bad conscience shows that I agree that the law is good. 17But I can't help myself, because it is sin inside me that makes me do these evil things.

18I know I am rotten through and through so far as my old sinful nature is concerned. No matter which way I turn, I can't make myself do right. I want to, but I can't. 19When I want to do good, I don't. And when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway. 20But if I am doing what I don't want to do, I am not really the one doing it; the sin within me is doing it.

21It seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22I love God's law with all my heart. 23But there is another law at work within me that is at war with my mind. This law wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin? 25Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.”


Who of us are good? I came across the following humorous illustration that perhaps highlights what we can be like:


One day God was looking down at Earth and saw all of the evil that was going on. He decided to send an angel down to Earth to check it out. So he called one of His best angels and sent the angel to Earth for a time.

When she returned she told God, yes it is bad on Earth, 95% is bad and 5% is good.

Well, he thought for a moment and said, maybe I had better send down a second angel to get another point of view.

So God called another angel and sent her to Earth for a time too.

When the angel returned she went to God and told him yes, the Earth was in decline, 95% was bad and 5% was good.

God said this was not good. So He decided to E-mail the 5% that were good and He wanted to encourage them, give them a little something to help them keep going.

Do you know what that E-mail said????


You didn't get one either,......huh?


Thank God for Paul’s honesty in Romans!! I wonder if you realize how difficult it would have been for such a significant Christian leader to be so brutally honest? He was publicly admitting what a struggle he had with sin. He was telling the Roman Christians that this pillar of the Church, Paul, was struggling with his emotions, with his thought-life, and with his actions. There was a gulf between his knowledge of the truth and his ability to make it work in his life. Indeed, his knowledge of both himself and the truth only led him to the conclusion that he was a wretched man! Now, if a leader like Paul can be this honest, do you think we could try to be as honest as he was? I wonder if I would be prepared to put my spiritual reputation as clearly on the line? [What reputation, I hear you ask?]  What would people think of me? How my ego would suffer in order to speak so honestly. Yet I suppose it is a fact that when we refuse to be so honest with ourselves and one another, we tend to minimize the effect of sin in our lives. The consequence of this lack of honesty will inevitably mean that we will not deal with sin, as radically, openly and honestly as Paul. Sadly we are more concerned with our image than we are with holiness.

Paul puts into perspective that there is a desire, even a longing, in every Christian, to be like Jesus. There is a determination on the part of every believer for their lives to be like that of Jesus, but the more we seek this for our lives, the more we become aware of the gap that exists between desire, on the one hand, and actual achievement on the other. It is with this honest starting point that I want, from the reflection of over 35 years as a Christian, to use Colossians 3 to challenge, honestly, where I am as a Christian. I am looking at this exploration as an MOT for my life. An MOT tells me how healthy or otherwise my car is and whether it is fit to be on the road. A spiritual MOT, done with Scripture and the Holy Spirit, along with an honest heart, will indicate the health or otherwise of my life [I was going to say spiritual life, or Christian life, but that would be to divide up my life into segments, and Christ must impact on every area of my life.]


I do recognize that I must always have as the backdrop to this examination, the Cross of Jesus. God knows who I am. He saved me from my sins, knowing exactly all that I would do before I became a Christian, and as a Christian. It is only because of Jesus I have any hope and my confidence of being right with God will always be rooted in the fact, that on the Cross Jesus put right my standing before God – something I would never, in a million years of trying, have been able to do myself! But I also recognize that if I love God, which I do, albeit very imperfectly, then I have a responsibility to deal with sin in my life, and despise the effect it has on me, as well as clothing my life in all of the fine and positive characteristics that makes Jesus so attractive and good.


I therefore want this study to be honest – a true assessment of where I am and how far I have come along the journey of faith. I also have to keep in relief that Jesus said, “Without me you can do nothing!” Any change has to be in union with Him, dependent upon Him and His power at work in me through the Spirit, to make effective those ongoing changes that will conform me to the image of my hero and best friend who did everything for me to save me from the consequences of my sin and lost-ness, and bring faith, hope and love into my life. [Goodness, that was a long sentence!]


Colossians 3: A Spiritual MOT Chapter 14

Gentleness, forgiveness, love - perfect completeness in God

Colossians 3: A Spiritual MOT Chapter 13

Kindness, gentleness, patience, longsuffering, acceptance of God's will for our lives

Colossians 3: A Spiritual MOT Chapter 11

Paul tells us we are to clothe ourselves in is a "heart of pity and mercy"- what does this mean for our emotional life in relation to others?

Colossians 3: A Spiritual MOT Chapter 10

Knowing who we are in Christ

Colossians 3: A Spiritual MOT Chapter 9

The Lord’s People must not lie to one another.

Colossians 3: A Spiritual MOT Chapter 7

“Put away and rid yourselves completely of all these things….

Colossians 3: A Spiritual MOT Chapter 5

Putting to death our besetting sins.

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