There is an old saying that says, “What you aim for, you will hit!” I recently saw a picture of major leaguer, and Millville native Mike Trout. The photographer captured the very instant his bat made contact with a down-the-middle fast ball. The interesting thing about this was the position of Trout’s eyes. You could see from the picture that his eyes were fixed exactly on the ball. At over 90 miles per hour, his focus remained on the ball. That factor is one of the most important skills distinguishing this current baseball great.
Whether it is a laser focus on a speeding fastball, or a golfer keeping his eye on the ball through the contact with the club, every athlete knows that to be successful, you must have amazing focus and keep your eye on the ball.
RACE CAR Drivers navigate through the congestion and chaos of 180 MPH pile-ups by keeping their eyes focused on the spot where they want to end up. No matter what direction the car is travelling, or what is in their path, your hands and feet will adjust to take you where your sight is focused.
In Colossians 3, the believers at Colossae are instructed that keeping your focus on Spiritual things is the only way to avoid becoming a spiritual casualty.
Colossians 2 contains a series of warnings reminding the believers not to be taken captive (2:8). The things drawing them away from Christ were PHILOSOPHY (2:8), JUDGMENTALISM (2:16), AESCETICISM (2:18), and MYSTICISM (2:18).
Colossians 3:1-4 follows this warning and the threats that are working to draw us away from Christ. Paul encourages the believers in Colossae that to remain faithful, we must keep our focus on the Savior!
Colossians 3:1–4 (ESV) — 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.
To Become Heavenly Minded Embrace Your Spiritual Identity.
The first REASON we should not be taken captive is because YOU DIED WITH CHIRST! He has made you a NEW PERSON.
Colossians 2:20 (NIV84) — 20 Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules:
The text moves from the WARNING (negative) to EMPOWERMENT (positive)
Colossians 3:1 (NIV84) — 1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
There is a CHIASM here, that focuses on DYING with CHRIST
3:1 You have been RAISED with Christ
3:1 Set your HEARTS on things above (NIV). ESV, KJV “seek the things”
3:2 Set your MINDS on things above
3:3 For you DIED and your live is now hidden with Christ in God
“Raised” with Christ (3:1) is an aorist verb, pointing to a singular, completed action.
“You died” (3:3) is also an aorist verb
God the Father sees you as INSEPARABLY CONNECTED to Christ. The Father views you as if you participate in the DEATH and RESURRECTION of Jesus!
Salvation is God’s Work. It is a ONE TIME EVENT. When you trust in Christ, a SPIRITUAL TRANSFORMATION takes place. We should Live up to it!
Romans 6:3–4 (NIV84) — 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
Romans 6:11 (NIV84) — 11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
This is GOD’S PART. There is nothing we do, other than believe. John 6:29 (NIV84) — 29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
To Become Heavenly Minded, Focus on Spiritual Realities
The phrase “set your heart on things above” is addressing our AFFECTIONS. The Greek word can be translated “keep seeking.” This is a present tense verb indicating continued action.
Are your affections for God? Matthew 6:21 (NIV84) — 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Jesus said it this way, Matthew 6:33 (NIV84) — 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Someone asked John Wanamaker in 1890: “How do you get time to run a Sunday school with your four thousand scholars, in addition to the business of your stores, your work as Postmaster-General, and other obligations?” Instantly Mr. Wanamaker replied: “Why, the Sunday school is my business! All other things are just things. Forty-five years ago I decided that God’s promise was sure: ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Source: sermoncentral.com)
But it can sound somewhat mystical to think about focusing on things above. Does it mean that we are to think about angels sitting on clouds, or the stars in the sky? Not at all. In order to focus on the “Things above,” we must focus on the spiritual realities revealed to us in God’s Word.
On Jesus, Your Savior. Matthew 6:21 (NIV84) — 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
On your Future Home. Philippians 3:14 (NIV84) — 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
On Your Citizenship. Philippians 3:20 (NIV84) — 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,
Set Your MIND (set your minds on things above (Col 3:2). Greek: Keep thinking on things above. This is a life-long practice How do I think on heavenly things? We msut remember these truths:
Evil will not exist in heaven. 2 Peter 3:13 (NIV84) — 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. Therefore, I trust in God’s Justice.
Christ has conquered death. 1 Corinthians 15:55 (NIV84) — 55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” Therefore, I realize my identity goes beyond this physical life.
Jesus promises a reward in Heaven for my faithfulness on earth. 2 Corinthians 4:17–18 (NIV84) — 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far out weighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. THEREFORE…. I will be faithful even when the attraction of physical things seems greater and more rewarding.
There is a raging spiritual battle. My attitude and focus will determine who will win. Romans 8:5 (NIV84) — 5 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.
Practical Advice on Becoming Heavenly Minded
Engage in the Spiritual Life
On a personal level, this means having a Daily Quiet Time, Prayer, Scripture memory, Godly input from books, music
On a corporate level this means being committed to experiencing and sharing the Christian life with other believers in a local church. Worship weekly, Small Group, Serving one another.
Rest in God’s Promises. During TRIALS, Persecution, Suffering
Work for food that does not perish. John 6:27 (NIV84) — 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”
C.S. Lewis wrote, “It is he who thinks most of the next world that does the most in this world.”