The Mystery Revealed, Christ is Enough, so Walk in Newness of Life
We’ve explored the glory of God’s mystery, the preeminence of Jesus Christ, and the hope of the gospel. Now it’s time to look at how our lives ought to reflect these wonderful truths. For our lives and actions must match the faith we profess. We must walk the talk and live our lives out in such a way that all those looking on may have no doubt that Christ is risen.
Chapter three begins the practical half of Paul’s letter to the Colossians. Filled with wonderful instructions on how to treat and develop human relationships and how our lives must look in regard to spiritual clothing, the most important and foundational exhortation is found in the first two verses. If we skip over these convicting verses and move on to the guidelines for Christian living, our obedience can become legalistic and duty-oriented—mere outward displays of religion that kill the spirit rather than building it up. So the following admonition is truly the cornerstone to a healthy Christian life.
“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.”
Living out the Christian beliefs and doctrines we profess begins with where are heart and mind is centered. Though intangible and often unseen, the strength and single-mindedness of where our heart’s focus is will influence and shape the way we live out the gospel.
Those laser-focused on things above will view the events, challenges, trials, and victories of the world as insignificant and trivial in light of eternity. They will not be fazed by shifting politics, turbulent times, or falling economies, for their focus and attention is fixed upon that which is above. The allures and temptations of the world will increasingly lose their glamor as Christ and His glory grows in their hearts, and they begin to yearn more and more for the day when they will be with Christ in glory.
On the other hand, those who don’t have their minds and hearts centered on heavenly things will hold too tightly to the things of the world. They will gradually lose sight of all that Christ has done for them and grow to love the world more than they love Christ. They will start chasing what the world has to offer and eventually the pursuits of here and now will eclipse in terms of importance to what is coming in eternity.
This is a dangerous place to be! So how do we avoid it?
We set our minds on things above. According to the Strong’s Dictionary, the literal Greek meaning of the phrase “set your mind” is “to exercise the mind, to interest oneself in (with concern or obedience); set the affection on, regard, savour, think.” Or as Warren Wiersbe’s literal translation of Colossians 3:2 reads: “habitually set your mind—your attention—on things above, not on things on the earth.” So we set our mind by pondering and reflecting on the things of God, by setting our affections and desires on the things to come, and by interesting ourselves with the things of heaven. We fix our eyes. Fix our minds. Fix our hearts. Fix our whole being upon the things that are above, on the things that have eternal value, upon Christ. And we do this habitually.
Why? Because these are the only things that matter, and the only things that last into eternity. And if we do this--if we set our minds, affections, hearts, attention, and goals upon these things--our lives will be transformed from the inside out by the working of the Holy Spirit, so that the duties, responsibilities, and guidelines of the Christian life will follow as a matter of course rather than legalistic duty.
Therefore, let’s start out right by looking up.
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.
For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
~II Corinthians 4:18 (NIV 84)