Do you remember the drama of losing your first tooth? Something that was a part of you became wiggly. Its looseness made it hard to eat some things. Especially if it happened when the sweet corn was ready and mom made corn-on-the-cob. Parents and grandparents made a big deal about the loose tooth. They even offered big money if you would pull it out or let them do it. Fear and uncertainty were also there. After all, we’ve never had a piece of ourselves just want to fall off, at least nothing that we remember. That loose tooth said a lot; it was the first concrete inkling that life is full of changes. And so we put up with it wiggling around in our mouth, after all, we’ve never lost a tooth before.
This may be a pun too far, but Paul suggests that there are also some other things in our mouth that we need to let go of. Paul said, “But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.” (Colossians 3:8, NASB95) Growing in Christ is a lot like growing up. Along the way we change, grow, and even lose things that had been a part of our lives for as long as we can remember. For many of us, things like anger, slander, and murmuring seem to be a part of who we are. We just can’t help it. But as we grow in Christ those things begin to become loose as our new life in Christ takes shape. Other character traits such as love, kindness, patience, and self-control want to grow in their place. These are not the only examples of words, thoughts, and deeds that we are to take off so that we can put on more of Christ’s character. Here’s a few more…
“So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.” (Colossians 3:5, NLT)
“that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” (Ephesians 4:22–24, NASB95)
“Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.” (James 1:21, NASB95)
The question is this: How do we react and respond when Jesus tells us it is time to give something up? Do we cry out of fear? Do we delay it as long as possible? Do we try to avoid it? Do we declare that “it’s unfair because <whatever> is part of who I am”? Do we hold out for a better deal before finally giving up? Or do we humbly open our hearts and invite Jesus to take away what we no longer need? When you have a wiggly something in your soul, don’t put up with, don’t try and hang on to it. Simply let Jesus take care of it.
In case you are wondering my oldest Grandson, Asher just lost his first tooth.