Friday, October 18, 2013

Maintaining a Proper Focus

At the end of the second chapter of Colossians, Paul talks about the futility of being able to control our passions with law or rules.  No matter how comprehensive the rule set, they do not change a person, and have minimal value in restraining our sensual natures.  Fortunately he does go on from there to share with us how we can be transformed: and it's a matter of focus.
1 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. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Colossians 3:1-4 NIV
In this passage Paul tells us two very important things.  The first deals with our position: we have died and then been raised with Christ and are now hidden with Christ in God.  While I physically continue to live on this earth, and am subject to all of its pleasures, temptations and struggles, there is another part of me.  That part is tightly connected to Christ, and where he is, I am also.  Christ is described as seated at the right hand of God.  And my life is hidden with Christ in God.  While my flesh is still here, my spirit is already with God in heaven.

The second thing Paul has to tell us in this passage is possible because of the first, my position in Christ.  Paul tells me that, because I am raised and seated with Christ, I need to set my heart and mind on things above, where Christ is, and where I am.  Rather than thinking about how to get ahead in this world and valuing the things of this life, I should be thinking about life in the kingdom and valuing the things of God.

And if I will do that, focusing my heart and mind on things above, the appeal of the things in this life will be diminished.  I will have no need of the legalistic rule list to tell me what I should or should not do.  Instead I will begin to naturally live in a way that honors God, loving him as well as those around me.  Changing my focus from this temporary world to the real one, the world that is eternal and is my real home, will make a dramatic difference in who I am and in how I live.

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