Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1-3 NIV
The late singer Larry Norman summed up the challenge which Paul mentions in these verses in his lyrics, “this world is not my home, I’m just passing through.” We are in this world, but not of the world any longer after we have become born again followers of Jesus. The apostle John states that this battle is winnable, “we have overcome the world and all that is in it.”
The pattern is simple to understand.
- Your new identity is established in and with the resurrected Jesus. Your old life died and was buried with Jesus. Your spirit man is alive and hidden inside of Christ.
- Set your heart on things above. Literally, this means set your affections on heavenly things as the most valuable. Everything the world has to offer falls short of eternal kingdom stuff. Jesus said, “I have food that you know not of” – doing God’s will.
- Set your mind on things above. Intentionally direct your thoughts away from the base things of earth toward whatever is true, honorable, lovely, and of a good report.
The “what pattern” is easy, it’s the how to do this and be successful that trips people up. Most people default to looking for a list of those things which are worldly and what is heavenly. It’s not about a list. True, there are things which are easily identifiable to both categories such as lust, stealing or jealousy for things of the world. But it gets complicated when you ask the question, “If I want to buy something new, is that worldly?” The answer is “maybe” by the way, but not necessarily yes.
My friend TD Hall preached at our church years ago and shared a clue to solve the riddle of how to apply this verse in practical everyday living. “If you want to see revival in your life, then do the next thing you hear the Spirit saying for you to do. Then keep doing that again and again.”
In other words, following the Holy Spirit will keep your heart and mind on things above, without making a list. He will always lead you and guide you toward truth and the values of heaven. He will clarify your motives for purchasing something new. He will guide your steps away from the paths leading to sin. He will quicken the scriptures to your mind for wisdom for the moment. He will lead you to intimacy with Jesus.
The answer to What Would Jesus Do is always, what is the Holy Spirit impressing upon your heart to do. This is how Jesus expected his followers to obey His commands – follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.
When you want to love and please Father God, your affections are in the right place. Ask God to help you discern the voice of the Spirit. Then ask for help to align your actions to the obedience of what He is showing you to do. He will help you with forgiveness, money management, relationship conflicts, healthy living, passion for the lost, define what is worldly and what is not, and so much more.
On this Thinking on Thursdays ask God to reveal your passions and affections. Jesus enjoyed eating, drinking and fellowship. We were made to enjoy family and community. These enjoyments are not anti heavenly. As followers of Jesus we enter into the realm of more of the reality of the kingdom of God. May you set your mind on things above and enjoy the journey.
Where do you find difficulty in setting your heart and mind on things above?
Blessings Love y’all