COLOSSIANS – LESSON SEVEN
“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.” Colossians 3:1–4 (ESV)
Of all the statements found in the book of Colossians this is my favorite. Every time I read these verses my heart is touched with the awesomeness of Jesus Christ. I also stand in awe of the progression of spiritual life one can achieve when he has been raised with Christ. The words of the song, “This world is not my home” well expresses the expectation of those who are faithful children of God.
“This world is not my home, I’m just a passing thru.
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue;
The angels beckon me from heaven’ open door,
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.”
The assurance expressed by Paul in Colossians 3:1-4 begins by reminding us that we have been raised with Christ. He is not speaking of the great resurrection day when Christ returns and the dead bodies will be raised from the dead, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. He is speaking of the resurrection of our sinful soul, an action that occurs when we are baptized (immersed) into Christ. “Having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.” Colossians 2:12 (ESV). You might want to read Romans 6:1-7 to better understand the type of resurrection being discussed by Paul in our passage, Colossians 3:1-4.
Here are some thoughts prompted by Colossians chapter three that cause my spirit to soar:
- Seek the things that are above: 3:1. The word “seek” is the Greek word ζητέω zēteō meaning “demanding, inquire, strive to find”. It looks to me like the Lord expects us to expend a lot of effort looking for heavenly things. When we are new in the faith we are like babies. We naturally seek the spiritual milk of the word so that we may grow up in the Lord, 1 Peter 2:2. My wife and I had 4 children. Two of them were twins. When they were babies they seemed to become hungry at the same time. So, in the middle of the night they would cry out loudly demanding someone feed them. Only milk could supply their needs. That is how it should be for the newly converted Christian. Actually, all of us should continually seek for the milk and the meat of God’s word. We should demand satisfaction for our spiritual hunger just like a newborn babe. Once full we are content. However, before long we are hungry again – and again – and again!
- Finding Christ: 3:1-2. When we seek the things that are above we will find the place where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Jesus Christ our Lord must reside in the center of our heart. When we seek the things that are above we will not find just a place but a Savior. No wonder the child of God seeks to find the manifold blessings of God in the heavenly places. We live in this world but worldly things are not what we seek. We seek to find Christ.
- Jesus is everything to the Christian: 3:3-4. Consider the following: “For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain,” Philippians 2:21. Does that verse describe you? It should!
- ESSENCE: The essence is the smallest particle of something. It is the core that makes something what it is. Jesus is the essence of our life. The Christian’s life is so bound up in Christ that we can say, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me,” Galatians 2:20. Jesus Christ becomes our everything!
- MODEL: Jesus is the model to the Christian. We seek to imitate the perfect example given by the Lord. He left us an example to follow and we seek to do just that! “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ,” 1 Corinthians 11:1. The word “Imitators” comes from the word, μιμητής mimētēs. We get the word “mimes” or “mimics” from this word. We are not content to profess His name. We want to be just like Jesus in every way.
- GOAL: How powerful is it to say, “for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God”? Can YOU say that? When someone is your life you devote everything you have towards pleasing and serving that person. No wonder Jesus said, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 10:37-39. Think about the demands of this relationship. Strive to achieve such a relationship with Jesus.
- REWARD: The person who hides his life in Jesus Christ will also appear with Him in glory! This is the greatest prize of all. This reward only comes to the one who finds the essence, who follows the model that has been given, who sets as his goal to die to self and to hide his life in Christ. The reward is only fully realized when we go to be with the Lord. “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life,” Revelation 2:10.
Here is how Paul felt about giving the effort that was needed to receive the prize: ”But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ . . . 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:7-8; 9-14.
The apostle Paul penned some magnificent thoughts in Colossians 3:1-4. Of course, they were given to him by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Thank you, dear God, for giving us such a clear and powerful passage explaining our need to seek the things that are above. These things will equip us so that we can make Jesus our everything. How about it? Will you join me in the quest to “die” to self and make Christ Himself our life? It will be worth the effort. Those who overcome will “eat of the Tree of Life which is in the paradise of God”, Revelation 2:7.