“Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:2-3).
Most people are unlikely to read obituary notices unless a friend, loved one, or famous individual has recently passed away. Nevertheless, a glance at an obituary notice presents us with a historical record that documents the lives of those who are deceased. In addition to the surviving family members, an obituary often provides us with a list of career achievements, social activities, hobbies, and other interests that characterized those who have passed from this life.
While it may not be pleasant to consider, it might be said that we spend our lives writing the content of our obituary notices. For instance, think about our financial statements, leisure pursuits, social media posts, and other activities. These often serve to reveal the things we really care about. Much like the biographical sketch contained within an obituary notice, these records document the interests and affections of our lives. In other words, they help identify the things we set our minds upon.
One author has made an interesting observation in this regard: “Sometimes we say of a man, ‘Music is his life—Sport is his life—He lives for his work.’ Such a man finds life and all that life means in music, in sport, in work, as the case may be. For the Christian, Christ is his life. Jesus Christ dominates his thought and fills his life.” (1)
Jesus spoke about the importance of what we set our minds upon in the context of His second advent…
“Constantly be on your guard so that your hearts will not be loaded down with self-indulgence, drunkenness, and the worries of this life, or that day will take you by surprise like a trap, because it will come on everyone who lives on the face of the earth” (Luke 21:34-35 ISV).
We can help “set our minds on the things above” by asking the following questions in the daily decisions of life…
- “Is this appropriate from God’s perspective?”
- “Am I making the best use of the talents, skills, and abilities God has given me in this situation?”
- “Am I handling these circumstances in a God-honoring manner?”
These questions offer a vertical perspective that can help us act on the counsel given here in Colossians 3:2. As one commentator states, “As a compass points N, the believer’s entire disposition should point itself toward the things of heaven. Heavenly thoughts can only come by understanding heavenly realities from Scripture (cf. Ro 8:5; 12:2; Php 1:23; 4:8; 1Jn 2:15–17…).” (2)
Image Credit: Glgy Mag 1919 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
(1) Barclay, William. “Commentary on Colossians 3”. “William Barclay’s Daily Study Bible”. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dsb/colossians-2.html 1956-1959.
(2) MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Col 3:2). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.