3 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4)
Through the Bible: Colossians, Philemon
There’s an old cliché used to describe people that seem to be overly focused on spiritual things: “they’re so heavenly minded that they’re no earthly good.” Or perhaps you know some folks who are sure of their salvation, yet they find no joy in this life whatsoever. They are looking to their eternal home, but they just seem to be enduring the world they live in now. Surviving, but not thriving.
When Paul writes “set your mind on the things that are above, not on things that are here on earth” (Col. 3:2), it seems at first glance to encourage us to keep our focus on heaven when we die. But look more closely, because I don’t think that’s what Paul is saying. Verse 1 says to seek the things that are above, where Christ is. It doesn’t say to seek what will be, but what is. Not a future hope, but a present reality. And verse 3 doesn’t say “For you will die, and your life will be hidden with Christ.” It says that we have already died, and our life is already in Christ.
So the charge to seek the things that are above is a charge to align our heart and will to what Christ desires. Imagine you are an ambassador to a foreign country. The country you are representing exists in the present. The president you are serving is in office at this very moment, and your job is to serve the best interests of your government in whatever country to which you have been assigned. An effective ambassador isn’t acting according to her own wishes or desires. She serves her king and her country, even while she is on foreign soil.
In the words of an old country preacher, the kingdom of heaven isn’t “pie in the sky in the sweet by and by, but it’s down on the ground while we’re all still around.” Beloved, set your mind and your will on that kingdom today.