The Bible describes Christians as pilgrims. Pilgrims are people who are in a place but don’t belong there, they are only passing through and therefore cannot get comfortable there. The Bible then commands us to think of heavenly things as we walk on our earthly journey because what’s most important is not the journey but the destination. Consider what Paul says in Colossians 3:1–4
“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.”
What does the text mean?
Paul commands us to set pursue or concentrate on things above on two occasions in this passage, consequently, that is the heart of the matter. Things above are those that have eternal lasting value. Nevertheless, the passage also gives some explicit and implicit reasons as to why heavenly and not earthly things should be our focus.
1. YOU HAVE BEEN RAISED WITH CHRIST. This means that you have a new life; your old self is no longer alive. That old self loved earthly things and his focus was on stuff that is not eternal. However, the new man has a different focus. As he walks on the narrow way, his eyes are fixed on the heavenly prize because he has a new life in Christ.
2. CHRIST IS SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE FATHER. Christ is not on the earth, he is above and that is where you are also going to be someday. Thus, in the mind of Paul, it made no sense that we would seek after earthly things. He is seated and he intercedes for you and me, he gives us help as we walk on our way to heaven.
3. OUR LIFE IS HIDDEN WITH CHRIST IN GOD. That means that the believer’s life is not here; it is securely and perfectly kept with Christ in God. There is nothing that could separate us from our future inheritance. Therefore, it would be a shame for us to live pursuing earthly things, even if we could inherit everything in the world. This is true only because we have died and Christ holds fast our future life in heaven.
4. BECAUSE CHRIST IS COMING SOON. Paul reminds us that Jesus will appear soon; his second coming is at hand. In fact, Paul believed firmly that Jesus would come back during his day and he wanted to be ready for it. He did not want to be comfortable in this life; he wanted to be found faithful when Christ came to take him to glory. He knew that when Christ appeared he would also appear in glory for all eternity.
What does it mean to me?
If Christ is our King and we are citizens of his heavenly kingdom, why would we want to be comfortable in this earthly kingdom? Your life is hidden with Christ. Your real, fulfilling, amazing, and ultimate life is not on this earth, it is in eternity.
Sadly, most of us struggle with understanding the seriousness of this passage, we hardly ever think about the magnificence of this command to set our minds on things above and not on earthly things. This command is about heaven vs earth, Christ vs Satan, the Kingdom of heaven vs the kingdom of darkness, eternal vs fleeting and heaven vs hell. It is that serious!
But how do we know when our heart is pursuing earthly things? Paul gives us a list of earthly stuff in verse 5: “sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry”. Are you pursuing any of these to some extent? Is your life characterized by sexual impurity or immorality? Are you a greedy person that cares much about stuff and money? Do you desire that which is evil?
God commands you to stop living for earthly things! He commands you to look up and not to look around! He commands you to be ready for his coming and not get comfortable here!
Is your mind set on things above? Please check your heart and meditate on this.