Seek the Things That Are Above (Part 1)
This morning I read Colossians 3 and was struck by Paul’s command in verse 1 to “seek the things that are above,” and again in verse 2 to “set your minds on things that are above”. I have read those verses many times since becoming a Christian, but today I found myself wondering: “What exactly is Paul telling me to think about here? What are the things ‘above’ that I’m supposed to be seeking and remembering?” Here is what I came up with.
I am to think about and seek the kingdom of God that is coming down from heaven to earth.
When Jesus returns and makes all things new again, he will finally bring the kingdom of God down to earth for us to enjoy. (The Apostle John saw a vision of the world to come, and wrote that “I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” [Rev. 21:2].) The Kingdom of God is the place where God will dwell with his people, and he will banish every evil and painful and rebellious thing from his presence. God’s will is going to be done perfectly in the Kingdom (just as it is currently being done perfectly in heaven), and we will experience fullness of joy and pleasure forevermore in the presence of the King.
So this is what I am supposed to think about when I “set my mind on things that are above.” I am to think about how one day very soon all of the people of God will love one another, serve one another, do justice, thrive in their work, give glory to God like we were made to, be full of joy and peace, and live in God’s presence in the coming Kingdom. And when I “seek the things that are above,” it means that I strive to live today like I will live in the kingdom then. I am to seek to live as a citizen of the Kingdom of God now. So I am to do justice, love mercy, be gracious, and seek to build up and serve my neighbors. I am to make war on my rebellious spirit and root out all of the inclinations within my heart that do not want to see God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. I am to thrive in my work and give glory to God like I was made to do. I am to seek joy and pleasure from the Lord, and not from other things that I substitute in his place.
So, I am to set my mind on the Kingdom that God is going to bring in the future, and then (by his grace and in the power of the Spirit) seek to bring those future realities into my life today.