How do we reflect that which we do not see?
“The turning of the mind upward is half the battle. We cannot expect it to reflect that toward which it does not turn.” — Charles H. Spurgeon
Thinking this morning on Colossians 3 about keeping our focus on God. It is so hard in this world of entertainment and escapism to find a focus that keeps us heavenward. It is in this heavenward focus that we must rule over our imaginations, emotions, thoughts, feelings, ideas, and actions. A Christian is to see everything, including these passing earthly things, against the backdrop of heaven.
With a new perspective on our lives, the eternal is to impact the flesh To be truthful the passions of this world are not only the physical things but also the imitation of the spiritual. This danger in pretending that the spirituality of the World is satisfying or that it is WORTHY when only Christ is worthy.
Colossians 3:1 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.
5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming.
This scripture grips the heart and gives us some observations and applications for us as followers of God’s Anointed, Jesus.
I. This is phrased as a Question.
IF we are to look at that which we reflect there should be no question in our lives. Our hearts and heads swoon after the world in it’s passions and desires and neglect or diminish the “things that are above” or even the very throne room of heaven.
Is there a question in your life? The more I look at scripture like this the more I realize that the world is so fleeting, the more I recognize my own passions are wrapped into this. A form of addiction in the method of being conformed to the world vs being conformed to His likeness…
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
Oh blessed sanctification, the impartation of God’s heart to our new heart. Christian, let there be no “IF” in your lives… let every breath every thought every desire of the heart be focused first heavenward… it will keep our souls in the balm of His presence.
II. Our safety and security lie in this question.
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.
When our minds and hearts are focused upwards, the place where we find ourselves is dead to the lusts of this world, dead to sin. But because of the death to the passions of the world we find our life is alive and hidden in Christ.
Instead of being worried about getting to the newest form of entertainment or derision of man, we are content in Christ. Christ IS our life. To often in this “modern world” of amenities and instant gratification we find a battle between the things of God and the world, instead we need to recognize THIS is actually a battle of the heart.
The end result of this battle is not merely the reflection of God in our lives, it is also the very concept of Salvation. We are ransomed not to stay in this world a slave to sin and death but that we are free to keep our life, our service in Him. And when Christ returns he brings also to us the fact that “we will appear with Him in glory”
III. IF you are a Christian THEN live like this.
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming.
This is a complex IF/THEN observation, mainly because it calls us out of our sin and into the Light of God. One thing that helps define the Christian life is the awareness of SIN. This is no mere morality of the world’s desires and passions, this is a recognition of the breaking of the LAW of GOD and the SIN against Him.
We see how easily our own hearts are led astray, how easily we turn our face away from the one we are called to reflect. Look at where the Apostle draws our attention, look towards the earthliness.
Sexual Immorality – sexual immorality, sexual sin of a general kind, that includes many different behaviors. This world distorts and perverts the truth of sexuality in a worship of self. This constant attack on the sexuality of the Christian are best defended from the throne of heaven. Out attention and focus that is KEPT in heaven will not be so easily distracted by this world.
impurity – this word speaks to guilt. guilt of sin, guilt of un-holiness before a holy God. Both in the spiritual and physical sides of this word, because of this sin we would be impure, unfit for worship or to bring a sacrifice. This isn’t just in the physical world (we see the results of the impurity of the world, go give blood… they ask questions about drug use, as a man about intercourse with another man… there is an impurity that comes from SIN and may not be as tangible as that… but it is there.)
passion – this is the specific sexual passion of the world, Romans 3 speaks of passion that is rejecting of God’s plan and driven by a worldly lust and pride. 1 Thessalonians 4 describes a vast difference between the “passion” that rules the “Gentiles” and the passion that rules the hearts of God’s people. This is a corruption of sin in the life of a Christian and points back with a “IF you have been raised with Christ.” This is not a salvation losing SIN but this is a sin that the Christian cannot remain in. This is the idolatry of self.
evil desire – this is exactly as it is stated. This evil passion, it isn’t just for self preservation but the lift up one’s self over others no matter the COST. Yet another evidence against the sinner… an evil desire.
covetousness which is idolatry – the focus of the flesh is on self and this “having” of fleshly things, fleshly passions, desires, deviations from spiritual things. Surely we are allowed “good things” but we also have to keep these things in the light of eternity. I have what to be is an expensive Bible… it is valuable $$ more than any other Bible I have ever owned… but it is no different to the WORTH of the soul! The leather and binding feels great in my hand but it is what is in the HEART that is important, it is that in the preaching and teaching of the Word — faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.
Let us be reminded that all these earthly things are but things! It is only our hope to be in Christ, it is only our message to be in God, to find ourselves with HIM in glory. Surely as we fix our gaze on Christ the fleshly desires are brought into this light and exposed for what they are.
Do you see how the flesh imitates the divine? How the “spiritual-ness” of the world would have us worshiping ourselves? Can you see it in the church? Can you see the obsession with Christian toys and short little pithy messages on social media? To try and belittle, to make Christianity into a reduction of its own perversion.
We must stand… the judgment is coming.
6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming.
Once again the death angel will pass by and the inspection of the blood will be made. The wood hay and stubble to be burned, the chaff to the flame. God will judge the living and the dead and will hold all accountable to His law. Let us rest in HIS salvation and the security we have in Christ.
Are you facing the SON reflecting God’s glory?