Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:1-2 NIV)
I love to fly. I don’t love the process of getting on the plane, the uncomfortable seat, or the plastic-wrapped food. What I love is the ability to look down on the earth from 30,000 feet. The amount of empty space in this country is very apparent when flying. I’m conscious of the space when driving, but then it is just something to get through. From 30,000 feet it is filled with unusual patterns and a unique beauty of its own. The Pacific Ocean looks big on a globe, but the reality of how big it really is becomes real when all you can see in every direction is water.
It is easy for us to get this broader vision of our world. We just buy a ticket, get in a plane, and select a window seat. It is not so easy to do what Paul instructs us to do. The moment we wake up every day our minds are filled with the pains in our body and the list of things to be done during the day. It seems that every one of our senses is determined to remind us that we are finite earthly beings living out our lives on planet earth.
Paul provides us with two things to help us fight the discouragement that can come when we are overwhelmed with the realities of this life. Neither of these things are easy. The first is to change our desires. In the Bible the heart is the center of the will and the emotions. I love to read. If I’m honest I must admit that I have a greater desire to read an exciting action adventure novel than I have to read the Bible. There is nothing wrong with reading other things than the Bible. However, if I’m more persistent in reading a novel than I am in reading God’s Word I must ask myself if my heart is really set on things above.
The second thing is to set our minds on things above. Paul wants us to look at every decision from an eternal perspective. When I look at my life from an eternal perspective I’m less likely to get distracted by the annoyances of today and more focused on the habits and patterns of my life that show me if I’m really headed in the direction I say I am. The message of the gospel is that Jesus has made it possible for me to spend eternity with Him and no circumstance in my life is going to change that. When I remember that I can thank God in any circumstance and not fall prey to the anxiety that so easily overwhelms me.
For my grandchildren:
Do you want to spend eternity with Jesus more than anything else in your life?