Looking Upward

CB2014 043-LR

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Colossians 3:1-4

In the previous several verses, Paul has been writing about things such as the fact that we are dead to sin and alive in Christ, that our old life was buried with Christ and we are a new creation. Then he went on to challenge us to leave the old things behind and live new lives, free from the old silly rules and traditions. In these verses, Paul moves from the what to the how. As these things usually are, the answer is simple: Set your hearts and minds on things that are above, not on earthly things. I’ve been told that this is very difficult, and that only a small number of people can really accomplish this ‘looking above’ kind of life… but I totally, completely and utterly reject that notion.

Does that surprise you? Does it irritate you?

Have you ever noticed that you usually find what you’re looking for? Well, OK, yes, sometimes you might look for your keys and not find them, but that isn’t really what I mean. Have you ever gone somewhere looking for trouble? How about a fight? Have you ever gone in search for a bad relationship, bad company… or a good relationship or good company? OK, if that didn’t grab you, let’s try this one: Have you ever bought a new car, and then noticed that it seems like everyone has the same kind of car? See? You really do find what you’re looking for!

To set your heart and mind on the things that are above, you need to start looking for such things. Now Paul, in the next sections will get into which things are which, so we’ll be talking more about that as we go, but the quick version is that we can seek His presence by just entering it. We can focus on the things that are above, by thinking about them and looking for them… as opposed to things of the earth. Look, if all we think about are our bills, then bills and finances will become our lives. If we think about the things of God, then what will our lives be about?

This passage ends with the reminder that we died with Christ, rose with Christ, and now our lives are hidden with Christ. Now that we have died with Him, to our old way of living, and arisen with Him as new creations, the focus of our lives, and the very reality of our new lives, are “hidden” with Christ in God. (This part works better in Greek than in English, I think.) Our new creation status is an entirely new kind of life that isn’t simply physical and biological; it isn’t discerned simply by the physical senses. It is Spirit and Truth. It is eternal. It is about much more than bodies, senses and things, it is the life God created humanity to live. As long as we are focused merely on the things of the earth, the world around us and problems and hassles of this world, we are missing out on that which is wonderful in Christ, and… our lives on this earth will be much more difficult as we are pulled in multiple directions at the same time.

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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7 Responses to Looking Upward

  1. Tom says:

    Don, this really got to me on the part about the bills. I find myself often focused on trying to pay them rather than seeking and praising God. Just need to do the simple thing of keeping my eyes centered on Jesus.

  2. musicbymelissa says:

    Thanks, Don! I was just memorizing this set of verses the other day đŸ™‚ and then I was applying it with my kids in the car yesterday: they were talking about ‘stuff’ – all the toys they wanted to buy, and totally consumed in this conversation to the point it was past just talking about these items. They were focused; I piped in and suggested we think about better things, and take a few minutes while we were stuck in traffic to pray for people. We did, and the whole rest of the car ride was a different ‘setting’. Setting our minds on things above đŸ™‚

  3. gwennonr says:

    I think this has been the missing ingredient in my life, which lately has been filled with multiple frustrations. I liked what you said about having our thoughts either on what is above or pulled in multiple directions. I’ll be meditating on that for a while.

    Blessings on you!

    GwennonR

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