How to get a handle on the not so holy desires of our hearts
Colossians 2:20-3:17

This morning we are going to take a look at Colossians 3

In Colossians 3 Paul gets really practical as it regards living for Jesus and how we are to think and conduct ourselves as the followers of Christ.

The instructions of Paul in ch. 3 follow 2 chapters wherein Paul holds up Jesus, emphasizing the greatness of Christ, the supremacy of Christ, the awesome of Christ, and how He is the only Lord and Savior, despite the claims of others.

Seguing into chapter 3 and Paul's exposition are the words of Colossians 2:20-23 "Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21 "Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence."

Note Paul's last sentence "buy they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence"

The point: Rules in and of themselves do little to curb the sinful desires of the heart

We all know the truth of what Paul has just written- for as the followers of Christ there is a constant battle that is going on in our hearts and minds.

i.e "Don't touch" Our response: How come? I want to. What am I missing?
i.e "Don't taste" Our response- I bet it tastes good
i.e "Don't handle" -Our response- I'd like to get my hands on that

While rules alter behavior, they don't necessarily affect the heart and mind. The heart and mind is God's concern- He looks at the heart, he sees past any showy form of external righteousness, He judges and weighs the thoughts and motives of our hearts.

So, the important question is: "How can my heart and mind be changed so I live a life of true righteousness before God?" What can be done to reform my heart? What can I do to restrain the wayward, sinful, sensual desires of my heart?

In Colossians 3 Paul gives us a part answer to the question at hand- an answer that is integrally connected to Jesus and a relationship with him***

I say "part answer" because there are many passages that help as it concerns the subject of sanctification, the subject of becoming like Christ, the subject of holiness and righteousness, the subject of transformation, the subject of our overcoming sin.


1. The ultimate key to our minds being transformed, to the curbing of the sinful desires of our hearts, and our growth in holiness is JESUS and a personal relationship with Him - DO YOU KNOW HIM?

2. For the curbing of the sinful desires of our hearts we are to keep in mind where our eternal home is- a home and future secured by Christ and his resurrection. Note the phrase in v.1a "Raised with Christ"

Note how Paul doesn't address the subject of victory over sin by giving rules. He starts with Jesus and his resurrection and the gift of Christ to us!

At the core of our faith is the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Because of the resurrection of Jesus we have a new aim in life, we receive a new heart in Christ, we receive a new life in Christ and our given an eternal hope.

To be raised with Christ is possess the greatest of all gifts- eternal life, the forgiveness of sins

To be raised with Christ is to live knowing that though we may die, death is not the end for us- for we shall be raised to life just as Christ was.

As one who have been raised with Christ it means that this world is not our home. Our citizenship is in Heaven. Our names have been written in the Book of Life. Philippians 3:20 says "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,"

3. To curb the sinful desires of our hearts we need to set our HEARTs AND MINDs on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. v.1-2

How can I deal with the wayward and sinful desires that flit across my mind and seek to take root? The Scriptures bid that I do something about where I place my affections and upon what I dwell upon in my mind.

-We have some degree of control over what we consider important/precious/valuable
-We have some degree of control over what we ruminate over/spend time thinking about

As for what we Value. Ponder his blessings (His call, His choosing of us, His mercy, His grace, His ongoing provision, His abiding presence). Rejoice in His gifts and in the forgiveness of your sins. Realize that shortness of life and the worthlessness of the things of this world- things that are passing away. Celebrate the eternal security that is yours in Christ.

What is important to God? What is valuable to God?

People, the poor, righteousness, justice, our taking care of the world, the raising of children in the ways of Christ, the eternal destination of people (being Heaven or Hell), our being Christlike, our forgiving of others, our being loving and kind, our worship of Him- a worship He is worthy of as our Creator and sustainer.

As for our minds.... we are to think about "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things" Philippians 4:8

When we actively and consciously value things and goals that are important to God -our mind is being transformed- and guess what? The desires of our hearts are transformed and the lusts of our hearts are curbed

4. To curb the sinful desires of our hearts we need to remember that the old "man/woman" is dead. We are new creatures in Christ and no longer slaves to sin v.3

2 Corinthians 5:17 says; "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!"

How we identify ourselves is of the utmost importance. We are not to identify ourselves by our sins but as the followers of Christ

Romans 6:11-14 says; "In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace."

5. To curb the sinful desires of our hearts we need to bear in mind that Jesus is coming back v.4

For his return we must prepare!

Jesus told a number of parables that illustrate this i.e Matthew 25 -wise and foolish virgins, money given to invest by a master going away on business.

6. To curb the sinful desires of our hearts, we need to put up a bit of fight v.5-11

We have our part to do!
"Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature...." sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed v.5

"rid yourself of all such things as these:" anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language, lying" v.8

7. To curb the sinful desires of our hearts we need to pursue the things and character of Christ. v.12-14

"Clothe yourselves with... compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other, forgive one another- just as the Lord has forgiven us. Love!

8. To curb the sinful desires of our hearts we need to put as much of Jesus and His ways and Word into our hearts and minds v.16

"Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts"

Romans 12:2 also says; "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will."

9. For the curbing of the sinful desires of our hearts we are always to remember who it is we serve and why v.17

"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."


It's one thing to know and to find out what pleases God and how we are to live. So that doesn't devolve into a whole bunch of rules- we have to address the heart. This is what Paul does. This is how Paul contrasts the religions of the world with what it means to be a follower of Christ.

The key to the curbing/restraining of the sensual desires of our hearts- it starts with a relationship with Jesus. It starts with the heart and mind Without a transformation of our hearts and minds, without this as the foundation- the putting off of the desires of the flesh and the putting on of the righteousness of Jesus can't and won't happen.

We must be driven by our relationship with Christ and the promises and blessings that we have in Christ.

A verse of great encouragment

1 Corinthians 10:13 "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,e he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it."