Colossians & Philemonby Mike Raiter
Old habits die hard. A few years ago a friend of mine moved from a city with a very high crime rate to the relative safety of Melbourne, Australia. In her previous home she used to chain her car to a tree when she went out shopping, and they had three locks on every door in their house. Having moved to her new home, what does my friend do now? She still gets anxious when she leaves the house, and keeps multiple locks on her doors. My friend needs to realise that she has left the old life behind. A new way of living will require a new way of thinking.
Paul is about to encourage the Colossians to live differently, but that first means thinking differently. He reminds them, again, that they have died and risen with Christ (vv. 1–3). Therefore, they should set their minds on things above. If we are going to live faithful, constructive lives on earth, our minds must always be in heaven. Paul is essentially saying, “Look to Christ. Seek to please Him. Seek the reward that He will give. Seek His forgiveness when you fail. Seek His power in your weakness.”
Occasionally, we do not feel like we have died to our old life and entered into a whole new existence with Jesus. Sometimes, we may look, feel, and even behave as we did before. But do not be fooled; our true life is “hidden with Christ” (v. 3). We may not always be able to sense our connection to Jesus, but the reality is that we belong to Him, and one day everyone will see our true, glorious identity when Jesus comes again. Until then, we need to keep reminding ourselves of who we are.
While the faith of some people is too intellectual and theoretical, we must never despise our minds. How we think affects how we behave. My friend needs to remind herself daily of her new home. She needs to set her mind there. Then she will be afraid no longer and will experience the freedom that is hers. I daily remind myself where I live: in Christ—once dead, now risen and alive.
What do you think it means to “set your minds on things above” (v. 2)? What practical steps can you take to do that?
What are some of the old habits from your past life that you find hard to let go of? How can an understanding of what Jesus has done for us, and who we are in Him, help us to change?