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. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Since Christ is preeminent (chapters 1 and 2) in the universe, there are practical implications as to how we live for Him. Of course, these principles would collide with the gross immorality that was present in Colossae. These principles would offer an antidote to the sinful cravings of the old self.
Paul begins this section of Scripture with a reminder that as believers we “have been raised with Christ.” Because of our faith in Christ, we have been transferred from the domain of darkness into the kingdom of light. We have been adopted into God’s family. We are His sons and daughters. Therefore, our position before God has changed. Paul instructs believers to “set your hearts and minds on things above.” Because Christ is supreme above all things, we are to focus our intellect and our emotions on eternal matters not on earthly things.
Scripture has so much to say about our thought processes. In 2 Corinthians 10:5, we are instructed by Paul to “take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” To me, this is the biggest challenge of living for Christ in a fallen world. Paul then instructs us to “set your minds on things above.” The word “set” here literally means to seek out. This instruction has to do with the activity of the mind and will of every believer. Because we have been transformed by Christ, we are to surrender our minds as well as our bodies to Christ. This is a picture of the “living sacrifice” that Paul writes about in Romans 12:1. Every day we must seek to surrender our will (minds) and our ways (bodies) to God.
In verse five, Paul once again directs us to “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature.” This refers to the practical outworking of seeking and thinking about eternal things. Paul then lists out the attributes of the old nature to remind believers of what the old life looked like. As believers, our lives should reflect the nature of the preeminent One! If we are indeed a new creation in Christ, then “old things are passing away and all things are becoming new” (2 Cor. 5:17).
Then, Paul instructs us to “put on the new self.” Putting to death the old nature is not enough. We must live in the new nature by the power of the Spirit of God. Paul then gives a brief description of what this new life looks like: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. These are the attributes of Christ. If we are living with eternity in view, then our lives will reflect the identity of the preeminent One, Jesus Christ.
So, you see, declaring that Jesus is supreme has practical implications as to how we live our lives. There is no better way to glorify God than to reflect His nature in a fallen world. How we live our lives may be the only evidence for God that non-believers will ever see and experience. Therefore, we are to live our lives in such a way that Christ is revealed to a lost world!
Questions to Ponder
What do you spend most of your time thinking about? What does Paul mean by “taking captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ?” Do you struggle living with one foot in the world and the other foot in the kingdom of God? Does your life reflect the attributes of Jesus? How do we surrender our will and our ways to God?
- Worship the Father for His kindness that leads us to repentance. Confess bad thinking or thoughts that have been allowed to go off in all sorts of wrong areas. Receive His forgiveness and ask for His help to take captive every thought and bring it into alignment with His Word.
- Invite the Holy Spirit to speak to Your heart and those within your family/household or friends to reveal ways that are open doors to the old man. Confess sins with one another, pray for one another, and walk/live in the light. Pray for honest/nonjudgmental accountability.
- Pray for Holy Spirit empowerment to get rid of those things that lead to death/old man (for example – specific TV channels, social media, magazines, apps., conversations, relationships, etc.).
- Ask the Holy Spirit to enable you to fix your thoughts on Him, eternal purposes, and eternal encouragement. Ask Him to remind you to keep short accounts throughout the day.
You remind us in Your Word in Colossians 3:12 that we are Your chosen people, holy and dearly loved. You remind us to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Help us to bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances we may have against one another. Help us to forgive as You, LORD, have forgiven us. Help us by the power of Your Indwelling Spirit to put on love, which binds all those qualities together in perfect unity.
I pray for Your peace, the peace of Jesus Christ, to rule in our hearts. Thank You for Your residency, but I also ask that You rule and have access to every area of my heart, as well as in my brothers and sisters at Oak Pointe. I surrender all to You and invite You to rule and reign by Your dunamis power within me. I ask in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.