At Redeemer I'm now preaching through the Christological passages of Paul's letters. This last Sunday we looked at the powerlessness of human striving to defeat sin in our lives. Legalistic "Christianity" not only never works to achieve this, it actually strengthens the resolve of the flesh (humanity without God) and has its root in unbelief.
This coming Sunday we'll spend the morning looking at Paul's answer to this struggle. It's found in Colossians 3:1-4:
3:1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Holiness, the ability to say ‘no’ to the indulgences of the flesh and to be ‘set apart’ from giving in to the fleeting pleasures of sin, does not come from asceticism or self-restraining will power, but from a mind and heart captivated and controlled by the beauty and majesty of the risen Lord and all that we are with him in the heavenlies. Yielding to fleshly urges is overcome by seeking the things above.
Sam Storms writes “The heart that is entranced by the risen Lord is not easily seduced by “the things that are on earth.””
“Paul uses language that requires both the energetic orientation of our will (“keep seeking”) as well as the singular devotion of our mind (“set your mind”). This is a conscious and volitionally deliberate movement of the soul to fix and ground itself on, indeed to glut itself in, if you will, the beauty of spiritual realities as opposed to the trivial and tawdry things of this world... The appeal of heavenly things is the presence of Jesus. It is the glory and beauty and multifaceted personality and power and splendor of the risen Christ to which Paul draws our attention.” (Storms, The Hope of Glory, 208)Write Colossians 3:1-4 down on a 3X5 card.
Carry these God-words with you this week.
Orient yourself to things above.