Colossians 3:1-17 Focusing on Things Above

Set Your Hearts on Things Above, Colossians 3 | Creating For Our ...

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is 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 what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity,passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice,slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts,kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Focusing on Things Above

It seems that Paul is asking us to look outside of this world and leave the reality of the world behind us.  That is not the case.  He is asking us to see this world in perspective.  He is asking for Christians to see this world in light of the fact that the higher, grander reality is the reality that Jesus sits on the throne at the right hand of the father.  We often get consumed with solving problems and dealing with the details.  We move through the material world as though it is all that exists.  Paul is asking us to see the material world as a Creation that reflects its Creator.  He has said that the forms of this world are a shadow of ultimate reality.  This does not mean that they are pointless or negative.  It means that they are incomplete and fall short.  Everything finds its origin and its completion in Christ.

This also is true of the life of the believer.  A life lived in a zone of problem solving, material obsession, and worldly desire leads to decay on the part of the believer.  This is shown by the corruption of God’s desires for sex, emotions, and other behaviours.  The heart which is fixed on Jesus and his desires for his followers naturally moves toward a true love for God and for his Creation.  Love is wrapped around a whole series of virtues which sound something like the fruit of the Spirit.  The list of vices and the list of virtues are not exhaustive.  The vices are a sample to reflect the kind of dark acts that drag a person further away from true life.  The virtues are also examples which will flourish when the believer is connected to Christ.

Some read these lists like they are a moral code.  In other words they believe that we live out the code in order to focus on things above.  Some success might come with that approach, but it is not the full measure of what God desires.  God desires that we start by aligning our hearts with his.  It is when we choose to focus on God and seek his presence that our behaviours change.   The direction in the second paragraph is to ‘let’.  This echoes the sound of God’s voice in Creation.  He said on each day, “Let there be …”  In the same way God wants to speak truth into our lives and to let there be a life of light. What causes us to work against God?  Why do we not allow him to do his work?  It is often that we are living for something or someone else and deep down we actually feel like God is getting in the way.

Prayer

father, may your face be what we seek.  May we look to Jesus as he sits enthroned above.  May we see this Creation in its right place.  May we take time to see through the crises and the details in order to see the way that even the problems we face point beyond themselves to you as the solution.

Questions

  1. On what should the Colossians hearts be set?
  2. What should the Colossians put on over all the virtues, which binds them together?
  3. What does ‘heart’mean to people in the 21st century?  What did heart mean to the ancient writers?
  4. On what is your heart set?
  5. How would you help those with whom you worship to set their hearts or minds on things above?
Advertisements

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Colossians 3:1-17 Focusing on Things Above

  1. Megumi says:

    1.The Colossians are told to set their minds on “things above.”
    2. Love
    3. In scripture the ‘heart’ refers to the center of a person’s volition; unfortunately, today ‘heart’ is more commonly used to refer to emotions and feelings than one’s will or determination.
    4. My heart is usually tuned toward the future and sometimes even to the heavenly future, but often I stop too short when I set my sights. I am usually living in light of the completion of my degree, my future career, or my future family, but only sometimes living in light of eternity.
    5. My dad is so good at helping those around him think about “things above,” because so often his own mind is on those things, and so often he speaks of life in light of heaven, the imminent return of Christ, and the spiritual work of the Holy Spirit. I just hope to grow into being more and more like him.

  2. Michael McCardle says:

    1. Things above (I’d say the ways of God)
    2. Love
    3. In Scripture, I believe that “heart” refers to the core of someone’s being. Today “heart” is just what I feel like doing, how I feel or what I use to decide all things because “I am in charge”
    4. My heart is usually set on what I have to do, when it is due, and what is going to happen in the future. I also worry about my family, unsaved loved ones and my own self worth and acceptance
    5. Remind other about what is true and who is truth.

  3. Molly says:

    1. Set on things above

    2. Love

    3. Heart in the Bible is often referring to who a person is at their core. Heart today refers more towards fleeting emotions such as “I heart this.”

    4. My heart is normally set on what is before me, lost people and children.

    5. Reminding others that this is not our final home and we can keep our focus and mind towards heaven.

  4. Olyn says:

    1. Things above-Christ
    2. Love
    3. Heart to people now seems to mean our desires or dreams, hence the common phrase “follow your heart”. To the biblical writer, it meant the will/intellect.
    4. I’d like to say always on God, but I know I stray away from that and become focused on relationships, school, worry, etc.
    5. Remind them that our citizenship is in heaven, that God is the only One who can fulfill.

  5. 1. Paul is asking them to focus on things above, with this life in focus.
    2.love!
    3. The heart was the inner being. Your spiritual self.
    4. I confess most of the times my heart is set on things that are visible and that are able to be accomplished.
    5.By encouraging them to walk in Faith and trust in the Lord for every thing they needed. The most important person is Jesus, he first deserves our attention, worship, love and service, everything thing else will flow from this point out toward others.

  6. Maria T. says:

    1. On what should the Colossians hearts be set? Things above, where Christ is in heaven, and not on earthly things.
    2. What should the Colossians put on over all the virtues, which binds them together? Love.
    3. What does ‘heart’ mean to people in the 21st century? What did heart mean to the ancient writers? Today, the word heart means the center of feelings and emotions, whereas Paul referred to the whole of the person when he said heart.
    4. On what is your heart set? I pray that my heart is continually set on God, and He is answering that prayer more and more.
    5. How would you help those with whom you worship to set their hearts or minds on things above? By teaching and admonishing with wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, being thankful and doing everything in the name of Jesus Christ.

  7. Christina W. says:

    1. On the things above
    2. Love binds them all together
    3. To people in the 21st century, heart signifies a place of emotion or a symbol of love. To the ancient writers, the heart was the seat of the thoughts, will, and emotions. It was not merely a place of emotion.
    4. I wish I could say that my heart was always set on God and on the things above but sometimes I let the things that I desire take that place.
    How would you help those with whom you worship to set their hearts or minds on things above?
    5. I would remind them (and myself) that Christ is all and is in all. He, and not the things of this earth, is the one our hearts should be set on.

  8. Emmy R says:

    1. Things of above.
    2. Love.
    3. Heart used to refer to who the person was as an individual, now it refers more to emotions and feelings.
    4. I pray it is set on things above, but often times I lose focus and get distracted by the things of earth.
    5. I would encourage them to keep one another accountable, and to remind them to see the awe of Christ in everything.

  9. Maelynn says:

    1. On things above.
    2. They should put on love.
    3. Today ‘heart’ means love and it something to be true to. Back then, love seemed to be understood as selflessness.
    4. I want it to be set on things above. That is something I have to try to choose everday. It is often set on family or my earthly needs.
    5. By encouraging them to put God first every day. And to meditate on his word.

  10. Christa says:

    1. On what should the Colossians hearts be set? Their hearts should be set on the Lord and all that He has for them, not in this world only but also in the world/life to come.
    2. What should the Colossians put on over all the virtues, which binds them together? Love
    3. What does ‘heart’ mean to people in the 21st century? What did heart mean to the ancient writers? Heart often means emotions and such things to people in the 21st century. However, in the ancient times hear meant more the whole of the person, the deep inner being of a person.
    4. On what is your heart set? My heart is often set on the things of this world, on my own ideas and agendas rather than on my Lord. This chapter of Colossians has certainly been a needed reminder for me.
    5. How would you help those with whom you worship to set their hearts or minds on things above? By not being distracting or discouraging but rather uplifting and encouraging to those around me who are also seeking to walk with Christ

  11. 1. They are to set their minds on things above.
    2. Love which binds all those things in the list together. You cannot help but do at least some of the things in the list when you love.
    3. In the ancient world heart referred to the whole being of a person. Now in our century I think it is connected more with our emotions. It fractures us because we think we only love with our emotions. In reality with ought to love with our whole being.
    4. I wish that my heart were continually set on things above, but that is a struggle in my life. I get distracted and afraid, especially of the unknown, and I begin focusing on what I can do rather than on what Christ has done and is doing in me.
    5. I would not want to be distracting or a downer. I want to model what it looks like to go into worship despite my current circumstances — good or bad — and keep my eyes fixed on Christ. I want to engage in Christ-focused conversations that help prepare our hearts for worship.

  12. The Colossians should have their hearts set on things “above”, things that the Lord has for them. They should put love over all of their virtues and allow love to hold it all together. To the Colossians, “heart” would have meant the person as a whole. My heart is often set on things of this world and my future plans. I would encourage others to be in constant prayer with God and to always put Him first.

  13. 1. The Colossians hearts should be set on things above.
    2. The Colossians should put on love over all the virtues.
    3. In scripture heart refers to the core of our being. Our hearts are deceitful and we often love sin and evil.
    4. My heart is often not set on things above. I have to constantly remind myself to love God because far too often I love the things of this world.
    5. I would encourage my brothers and sisters to set their minds on things above by reminding them how temporary the things of this world are.

  14. Nate Silvieus says:

    1. Things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
    2. LOVE
    3.The heart was what defined the whole person and what their core beliefs were in and therefore how they would live. Today, it seems to simply only means to have passion- “put your heart into it”- if you want to succeed you have to put all of your effort into it.
    4. Sometimes it is torn in many places. “the spirit is willing, but the heart is weak, seems to define my life accurately.
    5. Encouragement and pointing them to Christ and all he did for us. Also to work alongside them to store up treasures in heaven and reminders that the things of this earth are temporary and a gift from God.

  15. Kimberly W. says:

    1. The Colossians are to set their hearts on things above.
    2. Above all other virtues, the Colossians are to put on love.
    3. Today, heart is the center of one’s emotions, which change with the wind. To the ancient writers, heart was more than just the emotional center, but also the center of intellect and morality.
    4. Too often my heart is set on things of this world, specifically what I want with my life. It is during dark times that I am reminded to set my heart on things above because this life is so fleeting.
    5. Changing the heart and mind is hard! Striving to set my own heart on things above and admitting my struggles with that are one way I can encourage others to set their hearts and minds on things above. Continually speaking truth into my relationships and my friends’ lives is probably the best way to encourage others to set their hearts and minds on things above.

  16. Andrew Moore says:

    1. The Colossians were to set their hearts on things above.
    2. Love
    3. To modern people, the heart means your innermost desires and emotions. To ancient writers, I think it had to do with the core of your convictions and what was most important to them.
    4. My tendency is to set my mind on earthly things and it is a constant battle on how to properly place my priorities.
    5. I think a good way is to constantly be challenging them and giving them perspective of what really matters.

  17. Jung Kim says:

    1.On what should the Colossians hearts be set? Things that are above
    2.What should the Colossians put on over all the virtues, which binds them together? Love
    3.What does ‘heart’mean to people in the 21st century? What did heart mean to the ancient writers? I think “heart” often means feelings or emotions in the 21st century, In contrast, heart meant something deeper than the emotion or one’s state of being.
    4.On what is your heart set? My heart is often set on things on this side of the earth…However, I’ve been reminded of the things that are above and that my citizenship is in heaven. Thus, my heart and my everything is in God’s hands and control.
    5.How would you help those with whom you worship to set their hearts or minds on things above? I would first pray for them to have open hearts and minds and then encourage them by setting a good example in everyday life- Worshipping.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s