5 Things to Put to Death in 2019
Put to Death? That sounds a little harsh doesn’t it? Death is permanent. There is no recovering it. It’s gone forever. Did you know that the concept of “putting something to death” is biblical? Well, it is! Check this out:
“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.”Colossians 3:5
Paul’s nearly 2000-year-old words to the saints in Colossae still hold true today. Certainly, these things are still worth putting to death. However, I want to take a moment to look at five things that I think we need to put to death here in 2019.
1.) Put to Death Fear.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.”2 Timothy 1:7
I memorized this verse many years ago. However, as I reflect on my life and how I live, these truths could use deeper roots. There are many times that I experience fear in a variety of ways. Another way to describe fear might be anxiety. I worry about things that I do not necessarily have control over.
The Bible has a ton of verses about fear (Here’s a few: https://www.openbible.info/topics/fear). None of them say that fear is a good thing. Therefore, it is something that I think we need to put to death this year. Don’t let fear dictate your actions and your life. It prevents us from experiencing life to the full. Fear will limit our potential. God’s plans for us require that we are not fearful or anxious, but that we are confident in Him and His power. Think about it, what things could you do differently if you let go of your fear?
(Obviously, there is some healthy fear that protects us and keeps us safe. I am not suggesting that we should be reckless or do something that our bodies are not capable of. However, I am saying that we shouldn’t let our fear of something limit us from our potential, attempts at success, or good experiences.)
2.) Put to Death Laziness.
“The slacker craves, yet has nothing, but the diligent is fully satisfied.Proverbs 13:4
When I think about this one I think about all of the gym memberships that get purchased in January. This happens because people make New Year’s resolutions to get in shape. By February, most of those people won’t step foot in a gym for another year. Going to the gym on a regular basis to lose weight or get fit is a lot of work. Work that sounds really good on paper and in your head, but when you put it into practice proves to be more difficult than expected.
However, laziness extends itself into many other areas. It might be putting off projects for eternity. Commit to getting things done. In his classic book Getting Things Done, David Allen talks about how if something takes less than 5-10 minutes, you should do it right away. Focus on one or two things at a time if you have to, but don’t let laziness stop you from getting things done.
It might be not sticking to your health goals. It is important that we stay active and healthy in order to have full lives. I think this is one of the easiest things to be lazy about. It takes a conscious and intentional effort to work out and eat healthy. I know this is difficult for me especially in the winter months. However, it doesn’t have to be much. You can clean the house and get a reasonable work out.
Whatever it means for you, put to death laziness.
3.) Put to Death Selfishness.
Honestly, this one could have just as easily been greed as mentioned in the original Bible verse. However, I think selfishness might hit closer to home (I also tend to think of gluttony as linked to selfishness) . Selfishness is the sin that infects us all. Mind you, some people struggle with this one a little more than others. It seems that putting someone else first and putting the needs of others before our own is becoming a scarce nicety in the world.
One of the opposites to selfishness is generosity. Constant reminders tell me I need to work on this in my life. People are often much more generous towards me than I am towards them. At least when it comes to money. I am willing to give my time and help people out in that way, but when it comes to something that will cost my personal money, I am much more reserved. For further reading on Selfishness, be sure to check out Selfishness: The only sin that matters.
For some people, generosity seems to come naturally. They don’t even have to be a Christian. I see it every time someone buys me a coffee or when a coworker buys the entire office breakfast sandwiches. Without a lot of conscious effort, I would never have even thought about doing something like this. Yet, I once had a coworker not only buy me coffee every single day, but also drive me to work without asking for anything in return. This went on for the better part of a year. (At times I did pay him back, but the exchange was far from even).
4.) Put to Death Criticism.
Spend a little time on Facebook and you are sure to see anger and hate spewed at one person or another. Perhaps it is a political discrepancy, perhaps it’s a life choice disagreement. Either way or whatever way it does no one any good by being rude. Ask any teenager and they will likely tell you that they have not only been bullied in real life, but they have also been cyber bullied. People are constantly poking fun at someone for what they believe.
It comes down to if you can’t say something nice you shouldn’t say anything at all. Yes, some people are straight up wrong and are moral opposites of who we are or what we believe. While we should let our voices be heard and speak up for what we believe in, there is a line that I think is consistently crossed. When you are using name calling and other bully-like tactics to try and get your point across it doesn’t help your cause, it actually hurts it. This is especially true with political smear campaigns. What an embarrassment they are!
5.) Intellectual Atrophy
Humans are made for a lifetime of learning. However, far too many people stop truly learning after graduating high school or college. Many people stop reading or read less than one book a year. People tend to get sucked up in their routines and their jobs and stop learning to do new things. I think this is an unhealthy practice for a number of reasons.
First, I think it can lead to depression.
Doing the same thing every day makes life mundane. You lose vigor in life and excitement becomes a thing of the past. You relish the glory days. Intellectual atrophy can begin to ruin a bunch of other parts of your life.
Second, you fall behind with the times.
I am not saying that we need to or should even want to be up to date on all the modern trends. Many of them are silly fads (but I needed that yoyo!). However, if the most recent book on Christianity you read is something by C. S. Lewis, you might be missing some modern approaches to the faith. Likewise, if you are not up to date on what is going on in modern society you will be seen as irrelevant and you become difficult to connect with. Again, this doesn’t mean becoming more like the world, but it also doesn’t mean pretending that things aren’t changing at a very rapid rate. Remember, Jesus himself was very aware of what was going on in society while he walked the earth.
Third, it is good to learn new things and exercise our brains.
Studies have shown the brain nearly shuts off while watching television (Article on the effects of tv on the brain). Reading causes us to use our imaginations and expand our brains. There are other ways to learn of course (I personally have learned a lot of useful things from YouTube lately in regards to home repair), but reading is something that we should always be doing until the day we die. Especially reading the Bible, as it is so massive and deep you cannot hope to ever comprehend all of it in a lifetime.
Surely there are many other things that we can think of that we need to put to death. However, I also think this simple list should keep us busy enough for 2019. I know pretty much everything on this list is something that I personally need to work on and as such these are the 5 things that I want to focus on for 2019. Do you think there is something more important to put to death in 2019? Leave it in the comments below.