“Therefore, if you have been raised with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1 NET).
Whenever we see the word “therefore” within the pages of the Bible, we would do well to pay attention to the portion of Scripture that immediately follows. You see, this word indicates that a Biblical author is ready to summarize the content of a preceding section and present us with a plan of action to implement that message. As one source observes, the use of this word “…links the doctrinal section (i.e., chapters 1-2) with the practical section (i.e., chapters 3-4). This is a standard literary form in Paul’s writings (cf. Rom. 5:1; 8:1; 12:1; Eph. 4:1; Phil. 4:1).” (1)
Here in Colossians 3:1, the word “therefore” also serves to alert us to the existence of a cause and effect relationship. The NIV translation of this passage emphasizes this idea by rendering this verse in the following manner: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above…” So in view of the fact that we have been raised with Christ to a new life (the “cause”), we ought to view the affairs of life from a heavenly perspective (the resulting effect).
Jesus illustrated this concept in a familiar passage from His Sermon on the Mount…
“Don’t worry and ask yourselves, ‘Will we have anything to eat? Will we have anything to drink? Will we have any clothes to wear?’ Only people who don’t know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father in heaven knows that you need all of these. But more than anything else, put God’s work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well” (Matthew 6:31-33 CEV).
Paul the Apostle reiterated this idea in a practical manner as well…
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things” (Philippians 4:6-8 NIV).
If we prayerfully apply the counsel found in Colossians 3:1 and seek those things that are above, then we are certain to benefit from the resulting effect in our daily lives.
(1) Dr. Bob Utley. Free Bible Commentary, Colossians 3:1 Copyright © 2014 Bible Lessons International http://www.freebiblecommentary.org/new_testament_studies/VOL08/VOL08A_02.html