Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
— Colossians 3:9-11 NIV

the backstory

In this passage, Paul is explaining that we are all one now that we all share the same Spirit which is the Spirit of God. If you read almost any part of the New Testament, you’ll see a that Paul often addresses the fact that Jews and Gentiles are now equal. The Jews followed God’s commands very closely and are known as His chosen people. The Gentiles are people like you and me who weren’t born as a Jew, but are now included in the promise of Heaven because Jesus died for us.

If you’ve been a Christian for awhile, you may have had the thought, “I’ve done everything I was supposed to, but that person didn’t and they still get the same thing I get. That’s not fair!” Or if you’re still unsure what you think about Christianity, you may have had a thought like this, “But I’ve made so many mistakes. Do I have to try to be perfect like those people before I can have a relationship with God?” If you’ve had any thoughts like this, you can understand the debate that was going on between the Jews and Gentiles during this time, which is what Paul is addressing here.

taking off our old selves

This matters because it means that relationship with God is freely given, not based on the things you’ve done or haven’t done. You cannot earn God’s grace and salvation - that’s the whole point of it. He simply wants us to receive it. I don’t know about you, but I’m so encouraged when I read the part that says, “which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its creator.” The fact that it’s currently being renewed is a big deal, because that means we aren’t supposed to have it all figured out before we take off the old self and put on the new self. Taking off the old self and putting on the new self simply means believing and behaving like you’re a child of God instead of still an orphan. It means choosing to love people because you know you’re loved. It means loving yourself well and believing the truth about yourself because God has chosen you as his child. It means not letting yourself stay hard times or negative thoughts because you know that Jesus died for you to have freedom.

ask God

My biggest suggestion to you from this passage would be to pray for God to help you be renewed in the knowledge of the image of the creator (and maybe ask Him what that actually means if it sounds complicated). I’m an action-oriented person, so I understand how frustrating it can be to not have a specific “next step” to take, but I truly think God wants renew your mind and heart in a way that only He can do. I find that He typically does this so that I’ll remember that He takes care of me and I don’t have to be in control of everything all the time. It’s out of His kindness that He does this for us. 

pray

Jesus, thank You for dying for us when we were still in the midst of ugly sin and rebelling against You. Thank You that You are patient with our processes and You know every single detail that’s involved. Come and move in our hearts and minds like only You can do. We love You, amen.

- Michele Houston