This section that we call chapter 3 is Paul's description of the new life in Christ. He is not setting down a new set of rules to follow -- a list of things not to do and a list of things we must do. Rather, Paul is describing the difference between a heart centered on Christ and a heart centered on other things. The life that is centered on worldly things is still living by passion, evil desire and greed (5) -- which Paul calls Idolatry. An Idol is anything other than Christ that we put at the center of our lives. If I make lust and accumulation the focus of my life it does not matter what I say my life is about I am living in idolatry.
As we mature and grow other behaviors begin to shift and change -- again we do not wake up one day and follow a new law code. Rather, as we grow deeper in our relationship with Jesus Christ things things, like the old self, begin to fall away -- we give up anger, wrath and malice. We cease to slander or be abusive in our language. We tell the truth and we become inclusive in our relationships with the rest of the world. Notice the language in verse 10 -- we have clothed ourselves with the new self. We are being remade in the image of our creator (11).
Now, as fully clothed and mature Disciples of Jesus, we get even more fully dressed up. We add compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience -- we begin to more fully take on the characteristics of our Lord and Savior. This is basic growth. We all become what we focus on. What I set my heart on; what I worship is what I become. Therefore, at the beginning of this chapter Paul tells us to "set our minds on things that are above . . ." (2). Instead of making this world the focus we look to the bigger, brighter, glorious future we have been invited to share. In this world, whatever we do we do in the name of the Lord Jesus (17).
C.S. Lewis once noted that if we focus our lives on the things of earth in the end we get nothing. However, if we focus our lives on the things (the way, the life, the truth) of heaven we will get earth thrown in.