Set Your Minds on Things Above

Originally published in The World Invader: Students Living A Mission Newsletter: Issue 9, November 2003. Read the whole edition here.

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
— Colossians 3:2

This sounds pretty simple … maybe even ideal. Maybe it sounds so ideal, that it’s a “great idea.” Maybe it’s such a great idea, it has become intangible.

How hard is it to set our minds on things above? Our decisions, pursuits and dreams are all developed in our mind. We interpret our day to day events and it is our mind that really brings reality into perspective. Our very existence is filtered through our mind. It is our mind that makes us responsible beings.

Set your minds on things above…

What are the things that are above? When the Colossian people were told to set their minds on things above, they had a distinct understanding of what was “above.” In that culture, the philosophers and other thinkers were teaching that things above were things that were eternal.

Set your mind on things that are eternal, lasting, infinite! Not on earthly things. Earthly things represent those things which are finite and passing away.

Paul was not requesting of the Colossians to set their minds on things above, he was telling them that this is the result of being raised with Christ.

Colossians 3:1 Since you have been raised with Christ, seek those things which are above…

If we have a new life in Christ, we have a new mindset. Our concentration should be on things that are eternal, not on things that don’t last. Set your mind on things above.

What then is eternal on the earth? This is quite a paradox, if we are still on earth, how can we pursue things that are eternal? Are we supposed to just think about a heaven to come and get through this life the best we can?
1 Corinthians 7:31b for this world in its present form is passing away.

What are things eternal on this earth? What is not passing away?
John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.

Set your mind on things above. It is a selfish pursuit to think that God wants us to think about a paradise to come. Jesus came that whoever believes in Him would have life, eternal life. If we believe the Bible is God’s Word then we believe that God can do such a work in a man, that a person that is finite can come into Christ and become infinite, eternal. If this is only the case, then my father was right who said, “the only thing you’ll ever be able to take with you when this life is over is another person.”

Set your mind on things above. Set your mind on things that are eternal. Set your mind on people. Think about people. Think about their needs and hopes. Think about how you can help them to know God. Think about how your life can benefit theirs and affect eternity.

When we set our mind on people we show what the Kingdom of God is really made of. We show that things above are not the buildings we erect, or the schools we organize and not even the numbers that seemingly determine our success, but we show that the Kingdom of God is made of people. Everything else will pass away.

Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.