When you look at the picture to the left, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Is it tennis, effort, skill, or the disciplined regime that developed the muscled frame of France’s Gael Monfils? The picture was shot at the Australian Open, and the first thing I focused on was Monfil’s shadow.
There’s something interesting about shadows—they’re universal. Only about 1% of the world’s population will be born with red hair, but 100% of people have a shadow.
Shadows were the focus of Paul’s discussion in the third chapter of Colossians where he contrasted the shadow of your old nature to your new nature in Christ. Paul challenged people to come out of the shadows and to live in the light. There are three things you need to do to accomplish this:
- You need to “set your mind” or focus your thoughts in the right direction: “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth (Colossians 3:1-2).”
- You need to peel off the rags of unrighteousness and walk away from the shadows of your former life: “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you… in these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices (3:5-9).”
- You need to wear a new wardrobe: “Put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator…Put on compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another, forgiving each other; And above all these put on love (3:10-14).”
To shake off the shadows, you’ll need to develop spiritual disciplines that are as demanding as the physical regime that’s practiced by Gael Monfils. When you begin to do this, you will find that you are walking in the light and in fellowship with Jesus.