Colossians 3:1-5 – “If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. 5 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.” NASB
I want to venture into a subject that some, in various Christian circles, avoid like the plague fearing drifting into mysticism or missing the theological mark and falling into doctrinal error. What is that subject? The Christian mind and how we learn to set our minds on Christ and meditate on spiritual things productively.
I consider this passage in Colossians incredibly interesting. I would invite you to join me in examining some of the words used. Words link sentences. That is a basic principle and I have no desire to attempt a lesson in English grammar. However, I believe God uses ‘normal language’ to communicate with us. In that communication, He uses grammar and obeys the laws of grammar. Therefore, sometimes it becomes very important to note the grammar of various texts for clarity in understanding.
Two words that I bring to the table for consideration are ‘for’ (v.3) and ‘therefore’ (v.5). Both are incredibly important words here and in the English language. They are important because they link us back. It is very interesting how sometimes even the smallest things hold a vital key to understanding.
I ask that you walk through the passage with me as we consider these words and use them as a springboard to our subject. He said, “If then you have been raised with Christ…” If that is the case, there is a truth to be gleaned. This is not an ‘if’ of question but an ‘if’ of since this is the case. Let’s translate it, “Since you have been raised with Christ.” If that is the case, then, the question is “What are we to do?”
In verse 2 we have a powerful injunction and instruction. If we have or since we have been raised with Christ, we are to ‘Set our minds on things above not things beneath.’ If we have been born again, raised with Christ spiritually, if that is the case, then there is something for us to do. We keep praying for God to do it all for us, but He frequently enjoins us to our part in the process. Here we realize that we are expected to ‘do’ the work of setting our minds on things above. This is something we do not just something He does for us. We are not robots!
The word ‘for’ indicates that this is not a new idea or a new super discovery. The word ‘for’ brings us face to face with the question, “Do we know why we must set our minds on things above?” The ‘for’ here is ‘because.’ We do this because we have died and now our lives are hidden with Christ in God.
I hope you are tracking with me. When Christ, who is our life, comes to us in this relationship He says this is what you must do. You are expected to change your thinking because you have a different life. You do not think the old way because you are no longer that person. You are a new creation, a new person, therefore, start thinking differently. For, you have died!
You left spiritual Egypt and have passed through your Red Sea. You have died. You said farewell to the world. You announced your burial. You have been buried and that life is over. You are now alive with God in Christ Jesus and Jesus is now your life. You are united with Him.
That’s why you ‘set’ your mind on things above. The fact that you have set your mind on things above, therefore. Therefore, always looks to discover what it is there for. What is therefore there for? It is to call our attention to our part in the process. However, we must never lose sight of the reality that God will help us through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. He will help us to bring every thought captive and into obedience to Christ Jesus. The renewed mind is not automatic at conversion, it is a process.
I want to deal with this more but will tap the brakes here and put this on hold until the next devotional.
God bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him!