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Contrasting love for Jesus with false “idols”

January 25, 2024

Daily Scripture

Colossians 3:1-5, 12-14

1 Therefore, if you were raised with Christ, look for the things that are above where Christ is sitting at God’s right side. 2 Think about the things above and not things on earth. 3 You died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.
5 So put to death the parts of your life that belong to the earth, such as sexual immorality, moral corruption, lust, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry).

12 Therefore, as God’s choice, holy and loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Be tolerant with each other and, if someone has a complaint against anyone, forgive each other. As the Lord forgave you, so also forgive each other. 14 And over all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

As we study “love,” we know there are many ways in which people link “love” with false “gods,” attitudes or acts that lead us away from God’s design for our lives. Verse 5 in today’s Scripture reading gave a broad list of some of those false “gods” that vie for our love and loyalty. Pop culture often casually labels lust and sexual immorality as “luv.” We don’t always identify the final item, greed, as a false “god” at all, which is why the apostle added the explanatory “which is idolatry.”

  • A bit later in this letter, the apostle used the daily act of changing our clothes as a metaphor for living a new life in Christ: “Take off the old human nature with its practices and put on the new nature” (Colossians 3:9-10). Reflect on the list of things to “take off” in verse 5, and the listing of what God calls you to “put on” in verses 12-14. What do you want God’s love to move you to “take off” during 2024, and which of the items to “put on” in their place?
  • Psychologist Neal Burton wrote, “Greed is the disordered desire for more than is decent or deserved, not for the greater good but for one’s own selfish interest, and at the detriment of others and society at large.” * Greed thrives if we see life solely through the lens of economics, of money. Jesus taught, “Guard yourself against all kinds of greed…. one’s life isn’t determined by one’s possessions” (Luke 12:15). How can God’s generous love move your focus away from that “false god”?

Lord Jesus, whenever my life ends, I want to have my greatest treasure stored up with you, not left behind for an auctioneer to dispose of. Guide me into the kind of life that is rich toward you. Amen.

GPS Insights

Mikiala Tennie

Mikiala Tennie

Mikiala Tennie serves as the Student Discipleship Program Director with Resurrection Students. She has nearly 20 years of volunteer and professional ministry experience and loves walking alongside and encouraging others in their spiritual journey. Mikiala is blessed to be an adoptive aunt and godmother to many kiddos and lives with her 10-pound Yorkie, KiKi Okoye Tennie.

Concerts are one of my favorite ways to spend my time. A couple of hours to be immersed in music you love with the people who create it right there in front of you! I also love the anticipation–the first one or two acts are usually lesser-known artists with smaller stage set ups. Once the opening act finishes, I love the anticipation before the headliner comes on. The stage crew hustles on in all black, quickly yet precisely removing items and making space for the main event.

It reminds me of a song I heard years ago by Jimmy Needham called “Clear the Stage*.” The lyrics depict a thorough strike down of a stage—clearing out any and all items that distract from what’s most important—in this instance, God.

Sometimes in our lives we let the stages of our heart get cluttered with things that shouldn’t be there. In Colossians chapter three, we’re instructed to rid ourselves of things like sexual immorality, moral corruption, lust, evil desires, and greed.

At concerts when the stage crew removes all the items that should no longer be there, they replace them with the ones that should be—the ones that enhance the main event. In Colossians, we also see the things that are supposed enhance and showcase the main event. Things like compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, and most importantly, love.

Another lyric of the song says, “Clear the stage, make some space, for the One who deserves it.” One of the things I love about the anticipation of waiting for the main act to appear at a concert is when the drum kit finally appears on stage. That’s when you know the headlines is about to show up—they are the ones that have their name on the kick drum. It’s how you know whose show it really is! Colossians 3:14 prioritizes love above all the other things that should be on the stage of our heart. It’s love that should be plastered all over that kick drum making it undeniable that this is God’s show.

Today, I hope that you are able to “clear the stage” and showcase the characteristics that point others toward Jesus. May it be love that we prioritize rather than all the junk we are tempted to idolize.

“Clear the stage, make some space for the One who deserves it.”

*Clear the Stage is written by Ross Sullivan King and popularized by Jimmy Needham. Check out the lyric video here:

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* From “Is Greed Good?” at The entire article offers an in-depth psychological exploration of this type of idolatry.