Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. Colossians 3:1-2
This passage begins with a “therefore” which links it to the previous passage in which Paul is referencing idolatry–namely, following empty ritual and religion. The people to which Paul was writing were tremendously focused on learning which rules merited following and which were to be disregarded, and this kept them striving and squabbling over pettiness.
Paul here interjects with the cure for idolatry: perspective. When we live our lives in the here and now, like there is nothing more on the other side, when we put ourselves squarely in the center of all that is and ever will be, well, when we do these things, it is easy to fall into idolatry. We will begin worshiping rules or money or sex or fame or whatever else entices our flesh. Even present concerns–while, at times, quite valid–can become our only concern, magnifying the fleeting over the eternal.
This is not perspective. This is like putting your face so close to the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that you cannot discern what you are trying to put together. You can vaguely see each small piece, but discerning what it is or how it fits is impossible. By moving back, it becomes apparent that there are many pieces that all come together to form this or that thing–a sunset or hot air balloon or what have you. You can begin to conceptualize which pieces go where, but, even more importantly, you can also see that there is more than just a tabletop of pieces there strewn before you–there is an entire room. There is a window to a real sunset and a door and other chairs and maybe even people. There is much more than just this once-big puzzle.
And that is how our perspective should be with things of this life. They matter–sure, what callous fool would say otherwise?–but they aren’t the most important; they aren’t the only. When we focus our attention, our efforts, our praise, and our worship on the things above, we are able to live more freely here below. It frees us to look beyond ourselves and our circumstances; it prioritizes us and gives meaning to existence that stretches far beyond a meager 70 or 80 short years.
Let us continually set our minds on the things above, and, in so doing, add perspective and wisdom to our daily dealings here below.