“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. For you have died, and your life is 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 ESV
There are things of this earth that we do have to think about, like making a living, earning an income, paying bills, buying groceries and gasoline (or transportation), raising children, caring for grandchildren, cleaning house, doing laundry, cooking meals, running errands, and helping children with school work, etc. These things or things like these are general necessities of life, and they do require our time, energies, resources, and our thinking.
So, then, what does it mean to seek things above, and to set our minds on things above and not on this earth, when living on this earth requires our minds to be given much to the things of this life?
For one, even these can be God-focused. For, we should not separate our spiritual lives from our secular lives, in other words. Our Lord should be at the center of all our thinking, even when we have to focus our minds on things that are considered earthly, of this life. For, God placed us here on this earth, and he gave us jobs, families, and homes (places to live), etc., and part of our assignment from him is to care for what he has given us.
So, Christ must be at the center of all our thinking. Our thoughts should be centered on him even when are doing the mundane things of this life, and even when we are caring for children or working our jobs. We should be thinking about how we can honor him in what we are doing, how we can give him praise, and how we can show love to others through what we do.
It has to do with having a heavenly mindset rather than an earthly mindset, and sometimes that takes focus, and we must be intentional about it, for it is easy for us as humans to get distracted by the things of this world if we are not careful to focus our minds on Christ and on what is eternal.
But, it goes beyond just keeping him central in every aspect of our lives. It also has much to do with whether or not our minds truly are fixed on him and on what is godly, pure, holy and righteous, or whether our minds are in the gutter, focused on what is impure, immoral, wicked, and/or just plain wasteful. Are we all caught up in this world and in living like the people of the world? Or, are we focused on Christ and on his heavenly kingdom?
For, if we are truly in Christ, by faith in him, we died to sin and self with Christ, and we were raised with Christ to newness of life in him, created to be like God (in his likeness) in true righteousness and holiness. So, our lives shouldn’t be about pleasing us, but they should be about pleasing God. Our desire should be for our Lord to give him our honor and praise, and we should daily be putting to death the desires of the flesh, by the Spirit.
“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 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 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” Colossians 3:5-10 ESV
So, since our old self of the flesh died with Christ to sin and to our self-life, when we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, then the things of the flesh that we did before we believed in Jesus must also be put to death.
For, when Jesus saves us from our sins and gives us eternal life with God, he doesn’t merely forgive us our sins or just remove the punishment of sin from us. He delivers us out of our bondage (slavery, addiction) to sin, and he frees and empowers us to walk in his righteousness and holiness in the power of God within us (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Pet. 2:24).
Yet, many people who profess faith in Jesus Christ are still living fleshly lives. They are still habitually sinning against God in many of the ways mentioned here. They have put God’s call to righteousness on hold in their lives, and they have erected a barrier between them and God which is impenetrable. And, instead of being clothed in Christ’s righteousness, they are still wearing filthy garments, living superficial “Christian” lives.
For, they have bought into a cheap grace gospel which requires no death to sin, no forsaking of self or sin, no putting off of the flesh, no submission to Christ, and no humility of spirit, but an easy and broad path which leads to destruction while promising eternal life with God.
But, our flesh-life should no longer have mastery over us. Sin and Satan should no longer be in control of our lives. We shouldn’t be just gliding through life, committing the same habitual sins over and over again, while we skirt the responsibilities of life which God has placed on our shoulders. For, God called us to holiness, to godliness, to righteous living, and to lives committed and surrendered to him, not to lives still given over to the flesh.
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:12-14 ESV
So, instead of putting on the flesh and just coasting through life doing whatever it is our flesh desires, we are to put on (apply to our daily lives) what is of God. This is to be what we put into practice, not the things of this world which are evil in God’s sight. And, this is a daily process of putting off the flesh and putting on God and his righteousness (Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Lu. 9:23-25; Tit. 2:11-14).
So, if we want to stop lying, then we must admit our lies, repent of them, and then we need to start making it our practice to tell the truth. Every time we are tempted to lie or even if we begin to tell a lie, we must stop right then and there, confess any lie we just told, and tell the truth, the whole truth to whom it is required.
The same applies to all of the evil things listed in vv. 5-9. In place of yielding to sexual immorality, for example, we say “NO!” to the sin, we confess it, and then we put on the opposite, which is purity, love, forgiveness, kindness, compassion, tenderness, respect, honor, and faithfulness, etc. For, sexual immorality often has at its root a list of other sins such as selfishness, bitterness, unforgiveness, devaluing of others, lust, and hatred, etc.
So, in the power of the Spirit of God living within us, we can be totally free from all sinful practices. This is not saying we will never sin again, or that we won’t ever fail. But, sin should no longer have control over us. The Holy Spirit should be now the one in control over our lives. And, he will empower and strengthen us to resist Satan, to flee temptation, and to put on the armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s evil schemes against us.
We just have to daily say “NO!” to sin and “YES!” to Jesus in the power of God alive and at work within our hearts, as we yield control of our lives over to him daily, and as daily we are putting sin to death, by the Spirit. Then, we can walk in freedom from the power of sin over our lives, and we can live holy lives which are pleasing to God.
For, Jesus died on that cross, not just to forgive us our sins, and not just to promise us heaven when we leave this earth, but he died that we might die with him to sin and that we might live with him to his righteousness. So, the victory is ours – it is attainable through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen!!
Mighty in Power
An Original Work / June 17, 2019
Jesus, our Savior, reigneth forever;
Mighty in power, His name we honor.
He’s our refuge from all evil.
God our righteous, He’s our fill.
He satisfies us with all His blessings.
We magnify Him. Our praise to Him sing.
Glory and honor, praise to the Father,
Perfect in wisdom, He is our vision.
He delivered us from all sin
So, in Christ, we’d be forgiven.
He purifies us. His love will guide us.
He is beside us, holy and righteous.
Our Holy Spirit, comfort in sorrow,
Strength in our weakness, hope for tomorrow.
He gives courage to be bold in
Witnessing for Jesus Christ.
He teaches all things about our Savior.
New life in Jesus, we found His favor.