Reading through the Bible together

Friday, May 1, 2015

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I can still remember when my five year old son was practicing a Bible text he needed to memorize.  His determined repetition in a clearly rhythmic pattern soon had the text fixed in my own mind.  “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth…Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth…” (Col. 3:2 NKJV).  Since that time, God has often brought this text to my mind when strong temptations have wanted to pull me towards earthly things that are spiritually detrimental.  

In Colossians 3, where this memory verse is found, the apostle Paul draws a direct correlation between where our minds are set and practical daily living.  He explains that we need to be proactive in dealing with the earthly side of our humanity since we are seeking “those things which are above” and have our lives “hidden with Christ in God” (vv. 1-3).  He commands us to “put to death” and “put off” those parts of us that are earthly in nature (vv. 5, 8).  The earthly list Paul shares is not pretty and includes many destructive sinful practices such as sexual impurity, cussing, and lying (vv. 5-9). 

Paul doesn’t end with only telling us what to “put off”.  He encourages us to “put on” those practices that befit those who are “elected, holy, and beloved of God” (v. 12).  This list includes several Christian graces like kindness, patience, forgiveness, and of course love, which Paul calls “the bond of perfection” (vv. 12-14).  Along with this, Paul encourages us to “let the peace of God” rule in our hearts and to encourage each other with “songs, hymns, and spiritual songs” as we sing with grace in our hearts to the Lord (vv. 15-16).   

Colossians 3 finishes with Paul showing what a Christian home should look like when minds are set on things above.  Wives, husbands, and children will treat each other differently, because whatever they do in “word or deed” they are doing “in the name of the Lord Jesus” (vv. 17-25).  And they are doing it in His name, because it is actually He who is living His life through them (v. 4).  He will do the same through you today if you choose to “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (v. 2).   

 

Kenneth Norton 

Collegedale, TN Seventh-day Adventist Church 

United States