In Colossians 3:5-9 Paul describes our 'earthly nature.'
sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry (v5)
anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language. (v6)
Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices. (v9)
Now Paul doesn't explicitly teach a progression here. But is it too much to see one at work? Especially when you put this together with Jesus' and James' teaching.
In Matthew 5, Jesus particularly puts His finger on loathing (v21-26) and lusting (v27-30) and in James 4:1-2 he co-ordinates the two:
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight.
First you desire. But then your desire is thwarted and you hate and kill. Lusting leads to loathing.
And then, back in Colossians 3, perhaps we can see the crowning sin to this progression: lying. Because lying is part and parcel of 'our old self with its practices.' In the raw we are lusters and loathers, but then lying becomes our sophisticated method of getting what we want. It's our lusting and loathing woven into a whole relational style. It's the mask we wear to avoid or to win the quarrels and to fulfil our lusts.
But Paul says, we've taken it off. So let's trace back the verses in Colossians 3.
v9: The mask is gone, no more lies.
And we might think - Yikes, I'm exposed.
v8: Maybe it reveals anger and quarrels.
Where do these come from?
v5: Our lusts.
What should I desire instead?
v1-4: Set your heart and mind on Christ. He's the one to desire.
In obsessing ourselves with Jesus, our new self gets renewed in knowledge in His image. (v10)
Anyway, those were some thoughts that didn't make it into my Sunday sermon on Colossians 3.