Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other, and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues, put on love. (Colossians 3:12-14, NIV)
Unlike behavior modification, progress in the Christian life is about more than just sinning less. It’s about the fruit of the Spirit growing. After listing some examples of sins we’re to mortify, Paul lists some virtues we’re to pursue.
[tweet_box design=”default”]The more you cultivate the fruit of the Spirit, the less you will be hampered by the works of the flesh.[/tweet_box]
The more you cultivate the fruit of the Spirit, the less you will be hampered by the works of the flesh. Identify and vigorously pursue the qualities that are most contrary to the sin you are seeking to mortify.
Think about the sin of self-pity. What virtue is most contrary to self-pity? Thanksgiving! So launching an assault on self-pity means actively cultivating a spirit of thanksgiving, which involves noticing the gifts of God that we often take for granted, and reminding ourselves, through thanksgiving, that we are blessed. Cultivating thanksgiving expels self-pity.
What about greed? The best way to launch an assault on greed, when the things of this world are becoming too important to you, is to cultivate the grace of giving. You break the power of money in your life by giving to God, because when you do that and keep doing it, you’re demonstrating that God is more important to you than money.
Pride is weakened by the growth of humility. Passion is weakened by the growth of patience.
As you target the mortification of particular sins, target the cultivation of particular virtues. If this is new to you, then you are at just the beginning of becoming like Jesus Christ.
Which virtues do you need to pursue?