Blogging through Advent 12
Clean socks and serving others
As a boy I was told to put a clean pair of socks on every day. At the end of the week I couldn’t get my shoes on.
(This old joke was unearthed by the Huddersfield Archiological Society.)
But what does putting socks on have to do with the Book of Colossians? Here’s the next bit:
1 If then you were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, our life, is revealed, then you will also be revealed with him in glory. 5 Put to death therefore your members which are on the earth: sexual immorality, uncleanness, depraved passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry; 6 for which things’ sake the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience. 7 You also once walked in those, when you lived in them; 8 but now you also put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and shameful speaking out of your mouth. 9 Don’t lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old man with his doings, 10 and have put on the new man, who is being renewed in knowledge after the image of his Creator, 11 where there can’t be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bondservant, freeman; but Christ is all, and in all.
From here on the Letter to the Colossians is about helping other people.
With socks, before you put a new pair on you are supposed to take the old ones off. The tone of the first part of Colossians 3 is negative because Paul is saying we’ve got to take things off before we put the new things on.
Earlier in his letter Paul has said that we are burried in Christ. Christ has died and our old nature is dead in him. He now goes on to say that we are raised with him. Christ is risen, therefore we have new life.
But it is difficult to put on this new life if we are wearing the old one. The new life equips us to help other people, so we are told to get rid of the old attitudes which prevent us from helping others.
Look at the list.
Do sexual immorality, uncleanness, depraved passion, evil desire, and covetousness help us to help others? How about anger, wrath, malice, slander, shameful speaking and lying? Our job is to help other people, but these things get in the way of our doing it. We should not be doing them.