Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. -Colossians 3:1-17
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My son wants to be his dad. It's pretty typical for little kids to be like their parents but it is my first time really seeing it first hand. My son is three and no one on earth is cooler than his Daddy. He sees him eating peanut butter with his cereal...he wants peanut butter. He sees his dad wearing an orange shirt, he must wear an orange shirt. Dad sings, he sings. Dad does pull-ups, he does pull-ups. It's just life around our house.
This meaty section of scripture has a lot to do with desiring to be like someone else. Before when I have read this passage my thought process has gone like this, "Set my mind on things above. Okay, so don't think of these bad things, but think about these good things. Then I will be a better Christian."
Have you ever told yourself not to think about something. What happens? You tend to do just the opposite. It's called Ironic process theory in psychology. Trying to suppress thoughts actually makes your brain think about them because it is checking to make sure it isn't. So focusing on not thinking about lust and evil desires and anger can actually make those things worse, especially if you are already under stress. We will end up doing those things of our old self and acting in a way that is not congruent to our new character in Christ. This produces shame.
So I also have this problem...whenever I focus on the good things that I am to be doing, the virtues of my new self, I tend to only see where I am not measuring up. I look at my life and beat myself up for not being loving enough or kind enough or patient enough. I feel like a failure again and begin to feel insecure about my relationship with Christ.
Whenever my son wants to be like his dad, he does not think, "Dad does not do X, so I have to think about not doing X." Nor does he think, "Dad likes doing Y, so I must only think about Y."
No, he just thinks about Dad.
"Set your mind on things above, where Christ is..." vs. 2
"For you died, and your life is no hidden with Christ in God." vs. 3
"When Christ, who is your life, appears..." vs. 4
"And have put on the new self, which is being renewed in the knowledge in the image of its Creator." vs. 10
"Here there is no Gentile or Jew...slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all." vs. 11
"Forgive as the Lord forgave you." vs. 13
"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts." vs. 15
"Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly..." vs. 16
I think we get the picture. The focus here should be on Christ. I have never noticed that before. I have gotten myself so wrapped up on the to-dos and the to-don'ts that I have missed the beauty of the image of Christ.
I want to have compassion and humility while keeping greed and slander in check. I want to be perfect but only for myself and not for Jesus. I get so caught up in performing and tasks and keeping myself from sin that I completely miss Jesus. I don't see Him in my days; I don't ask for His guidance; I miss Him entirely. And without Him, it is all just empty, a shadow.
The take-away is simple today. How have we been focusing too much on things...whether good or bad...instead of focusing on Christ? How can we change our mindset to think about the person of Jesus, in His wholeness...human and divine...to lead us in this walk of faith?
We need to focus on Christ. We need to let our new self be renewed in the knowledge of the image of Him. We need to let His message dwell in us richly as we teach each other. We need to do all in the name of the Lord Jesus. The only way to do these things is to know Him.
Take some extra time today reading about His ministry in the Gospels. Ask Him for true communion in prayer and throughout your day. Ask Him to reveal more of Himself to you. I pray that we can learn a little more about Jesus, and therefore ourselves, today.
Kate, Declare Glory