Paul begins the third chapter of Colossians with, “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 many people, believers and non-believers alike, this may be confusing. What exactly does Paul mean when he says to set our hearts on things above? Is he talking about the kingdom of Heaven or God specifically?
When I read these two verses I understand Paul to be saying that it is not enough to just “be a Christian”. Yes, the belief in Jesus Christ as our savior is all we need in order to be saved but God wants so much more from us. If all we did was BELIEVE how would others know who we serve? If we never studied God’s word to understand how He wants us to live how would we look to others, especially through our actions? As Christians, we must allow Christ to live within us and we must allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us in order to change our old behaviors and thoughts to be more closely aligned with those of Christ.
So, how do we set our hearts on things above? First of all we stay active in God’s word. Without this we have no way to learn about how God wants us to live or how we should treat others. The Bible is like an owner’s manual in a way. It gives us guidance on many different situations such as how to deal with anger or jealousy, how to treat those who have done us wrong, how to pray and how to praise. We never have to look too far to know how we should react in any situation because the word of God is there to guide us. We must also continue to read God’s word in order to nourish our relationship with Him. Our Heavenly Father speaks to us through the Bible so if we aren’t spending time reading scripture we are robbing ourselves of one of our means of communication with Him.
Phillipians 4:8-9 says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put into practice. And the God of peace will be with you”. The only way to truly know about how Jesus behaved when He lived on Earth as man and God is to read scripture about it. This is how we will know how to behave as well.
One last word about how we are called to behave as believers of Christ: Colossians 3:15 says, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful”. If we could all learn to think before we react and remember that God wants us to be peaceful people as well as to always be thankful for all of our blessings, the world would surely benefit!