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Popular culture celebrates the idea that everyone has a skeleton (or two) in their closet. Everyone makes mistakes. Nobody's perfect. It's inevitable that we all have some lingering addiction or dark secret. And because of that, the best thing we can do is accept it and move on with embracing it, right?
Even a quick reading of the New Testament shows us that habitual sin is something to throw away like garbage, not boast as a character trait. That's not to say they aren't hard to shake—Paul wouldn't have spent so much time talking about it with all the churches under his care if it were.
But it's precisely because Paul tells his churches to stop being dead so frequently that we have hope it can be our reality. Just look at how he talks about sin and death in the past tense...
“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses.”
— Colossians 2:13
This transition from death to life has already taken place (really!) in the death and resurrection of Christ. That's the point Paul is trying to make here—stop being dead because... well... you aren't!
Richard Foster wrote a great book called Celebration Of Discipline, where he talks about good habits and bad habits as things we can put on... like a new pair of pants or a comfortable hoodie:
"God has given us the disciplines of the spiritual life as a means of receiving his grace. The disciplines allow us to place ourselves before God so that he can transform us."
If you are a Christian who continues to struggle with sin you just can't shake, don't lose hope. Don't buy the world's message that sin is inevitable. It's not inevitable. The reality is you're not dead anymore.
And that means the phrase "stop being dead" isn't as much a command as it is a gift.