“Set your mind on things above…”
Read Colossians 3:1-11
In this passage, Paul is reminding believers who they are. He starts with, “Since you have been raised with Christ…set your mind on things above…”. This is a great reminder that we are different people once we have been raised by Christ’s death and resurrection. Therefore, as children of God, we are to act accordingly. Paul tells us to “put to death what belongs to our earthly nature”. Wow, easier said than done! Actually, there are ways to do that, and we are never perfect at it, but we can only do that with reliance upon the Holy Spirit placed in us when we commit our lives to Christ.
I am reminded of an old Native American saying here. When a younger member of the tribe was asking an elder how to curb the evil intentions of his heart, the young brave described his struggle like there were two competing wolves within him, one evil, and one good. The elder told the young brave, “To keep at bay the evil wolf who would destroy you, simply feed the good wolf. The other will wither and die.”
I love this analogy, because it gives hope for looking toward the good, not just avoiding the evil. “Feed the good wolf” is a good metaphor. We are much more inclined to move toward a good goal than to simply avoid the ugly and painful parts of life. Constantly trying to avoid negative, painful thoughts gives rise to spiritual and emotional exhaustion. Setting our hearts and minds on higher things, positive things, helps us to get out of a cycle of fear and running from evil. We need higher goals and motives to become fulfilled and healthy. God constructed us to be “strivers” not “shrinkers”.
In 3:12 Paul says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” In doing this, we are naturally going toward the healthy lifestyle which will “starve out” the evil inclinations we have.
The holiness rules which are prescribed in this passage are not to be simply taken as a list of forbidden actions, in my estimation. We are to strive toward those actions which will uplift us and others around us. In so doing, we will slowly strangle those evil desires so present within us.
Prayer: Thank you Lord for the remedy of your Son. You have called us to a higher place, and you have given us the Spirit to live a life pleasing to you, Amen.