Put to death . . . whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
— Colossians 3:5
This passage reminds me of my swimming instructor when I was young. The instructor stood just a few body lengths away from me in the pool, but as I swam toward him, he moved backward so that I would stretch my abilities to reach him. When I reached him, he showed me how far I had gone, and, more importantly, I found that he had improved my confidence.
While I was swimming, I wanted so badly to reach the instructor. And Jesus wants us to reach for him like that. But in the pool of life there are many other things we could grab onto. None of them are as safe as Jesus, but many of them seem easier to reach.
These other things we want to grab are idols. Idols can be false gods or false goods. This passage is warning us about false goods. We get greedy for things that seem able to help us, but they can never be as safe as Jesus. In fact, these things are so unsafe that if we don’t let go of them, they will bring us to destruction.
It’s not safe to grab onto the false goods or idols of this world when we simply need to keep stretching toward Christ, who is with us always (Matthew 28:20).
Lord, keep near to us so that we don’t lose confidence in reaching you. And free us from the things of this world that falsely offer the safety that only you can give. Amen.