“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.” Colossians 3:1.
“Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:2-3.
Colossians 3:1 above has been added for context, we will continue with Colossians 3:2-4 in this post.
Setting our minds “…on things above” Colossians 3:2, is no easy task, it requires discipline, something many of us moderns have very little of. The verse goes on to say, “…not on things on the earth.”
It has been said that some folks were “so heavenly minded that they were no earthly good.”
This will not be true of a person who really has their mind set on the things above because the goodness and love that they experience in the presence of Christ Jesus automatically flows out through them to others.
One possible exception might be to those who are so wounded by the evil and violence which came into their lives that resting in the presence of Jesus would heal them eventually.
To you, I recommend seeking this place in Jesus and remaining there until you are able to reach out to others that the Lord brings into your life.
Some who have been called “no earthly good” may be of the sort who go into Christ’s presence and find it so sublime that they do not want to leave for any reason.
This is good if you are a hermit, but not if you have a family.
And Christ has not called us to be hermits, but to preach the good news of salvation to all whom He puts within our reach. Again, this does not necessarily mean we have to preach on street corners.
But it does mean that we have a function within the body of Christ, whether it is praying for those who do go out preaching, feeding the poor, encouraging others within the church, or just teaching Sunday school.
When we keep our minds on things above we are given God’s grace to minister to those around us.
When the Lord tells us to set our minds on the things above, and not on earthly things, it does not mean that we are excused from caring for our family.
It is still an absolute necessity to care for your spouse; nurture and train up your children, and give them all the security of a home to the best of your abilities.
I strongly suspect that those who actually are of no earthly good are not necessarily concentrating on the things above as much as avoiding their God given responsibilities here on earth.
Folks like this betray themselves by not growing in Christ.
It is impossible for a person to earnestly seek the things above without becoming concerned about the things going on around them, certainly their immediate family.
The love and kindness of such a person will also grow and become manifest to everyone.
Many bad habits will also fall by the wayside. If there is no progress in one’s life then it is possible that it is not the presence of Christ that they have been in.
So, how do you set your mind on the things above?
Ultimately that is something for each individual to work out for themselves. Knowing God’s love for variety, it should not be surprising that the human race is not entirely made up of people cut out with a cookie cutter.
We are all individuals, different from each other, with different needs. There is no “one size fits all” as the, know it all, politicians, socialists, communists, and humanists keep trying to lump us into.
God made us individuals and as such we are each different and learn differently, even though a person may have one cultural identity.
Having said all that, you now realize why it is up to the individual to find a discipline that works for them.
Here are some suggestions: people who are successful at focusing on the things that are above say that the Christian needs to set aside a time everyday to get alone with God; usually in the morning, since that is when most people start their day (and it is a good way to start your day).
What you do and how you do it is up to you. You should start off by quietly confessing any known sin, even though you may have repeated and confessed the same sin numerous times before. God knows your heart, if you are serious and not just playing a game, He will know it.
Read some Scripture, even a few verses may be enough, and then think about what you have read. If you really like something write it down and put it where you will be able to refer to it occasionally.
Pray, be informal, just talk to God, ask for guidance, wisdom, ask even the truly stupid questions that you would not dare ask anyone else.
At some point, just be quiet that is all, just quiet for however long you feel comfortable, and listen. You will find peace in this place.
Bible study is an indispensible way of seeking those things above. If you have never read your Bible through, work on that. Start in the New Testament, a good place to begin is the Gospel of John.
Read through it until you get to the book of Revelation, stop go back and start from the gospel of Matthew and read all the way through to the end of Revelation.
After that you can start reading some of the books of the Old Testament along with the New Testament until you have completed everything. Just suggestions, do what works for you, but do it.
I seem to recall that Billy Graham read through the entire Bible once a year, and the book of Proverbs once a month (a good idea). I believe he also read through Psalms once a month.
If you have difficulty reading or bad eyesight, there are audio Bibles available, please get this as soon as possible, and use them.
Finally, if we are to focus on the things which are above, we must change our mindset about the things which are on the earth. Here are some Scriptures which aid us in the renewing of the mind.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1-2.
The words, “…do not be conformed to this world” mean that we are not to allow the world to press us into its mold, which is what it is doing continually, daily, and has been doing all of our lives.
This is why the mind must be renewed.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.
“But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in righteousness and true holiness.” Ephesians 4:20-24.
Sin is deceitful, and if we allow sinful things into our lives they will corrupt us, slowly but surely, instead then of growing in Christ we grow in corruption and away from Him.
It is important to realize this so we will not be dragged back into the old ways we have forsaken. Thus, the renewal of the mind is important.
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8.
Finally, brethren, the world feeds off of the things which are untrue, things which are not noble, things which are unjust, things which are impure, things which are ugly, things of evil report, there is nothing of virtue and nothing praiseworthy in their hearts – consider this.
Will we be any different if we continue to feed off the same swill?
The final verses for renewing the mind are the ones we are considering in this study.
“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:1-2.
The following verse says this.
“For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:3.
This seems to be a contradiction to the words, “If then you were raised with Christ…” but we are raised with Christ to life eternal and dead to the things of the world.
“Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do no let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.” Romans 6:11-13.
Presenting your members (your body, hands, feet, etc.) as instruments of unrighteousness or instruments to righteousness can be looked at in this way.
A hammer is an instrument, you can use it rightly to drive a nail, or you can use it incorrectly to bash someone’s brains in. Either way it is a hammer, but you choose how to use it.
Something that might be helpful to you is that the more we seek the things above, the less we desire to use our members as instruments of unrighteousness and the less we desire to be alive to this world which is passing away.
Again we have an example of the eternal security of the believer, that is to say, you cannot lose your salvation, in the last few words in Colossians 3:3, “…your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
Not only is our current, right now life secure in its salvation, it is hidden with Christ, meaning that He holds our life in His hand and He will not let go, no matter what.
Further emphasis on eternal security is added when it is written that we are hidden, “with Christ in God” we are doubly secure not only in the hands of God the Son but it says that He is in God the Father.
No stronger words for the security of each Christian can be said than “your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
And no greater glory shall there be for believers than that given in the next verse.
“When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” Colossians 3:4.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. And not only they, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.” Romans 8:18-23.
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2.
Colossians 3:2-4 taken from godisrevealed.com posted on 2-2-14, updated on 4-11-20.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.