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. (verses 1-4)
Our reality has been completely transformed in Christ, elevated into a whole new dimension. Everything is changed. So, the whole direction and focus of life needs to follow suit.
Here are the elements of the transformation:
(1) We “have been raised with Christ.” Paul uses one of his super-compound words here, adding the little prefix “with”, giving the intensified sense “together with”, capturing the idea that we have been bundled up in the very experience of Jesus himself. When he was raised from death into life, we were caught up with him.
(2) He is now “seated at the right hand of God.” This is the end point of that great resurrection sweep. Elsewhere, Paul tells us this is our own position, also (Ephesians 2:6). This earth is not our home.
(3) Restating the whole thing slightly differently, Paul says we died and our life “is now hidden with Christ in God.” This is the epitome of being “in Christ’, so fully embraced by Son and Father together that our life is “hidden” – immersed, preserved, kept safe, transferred into an entirely new atmosphere.
(4) So profound is this transfer, so total the transformation, that “our life” is not only hidden in Christ – “our life” is, in fact, Christ himself.
These are the stunning dimensions of our new spiritual reality. The transformation is radical. But, feet on the ground, enveloped in the practical realities of life, we don’t always see it.
So, Paul gives us two commands, both directing us to life “above.” The first is to “set your hearts on things above.” Literally, and simply, what he writes is “seek.”Seek the things above. This same word is used in Jesus’ powerful command in Matthew 6:33 – “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness …” Fix your gaze upward, sights on the goal, directed to your true home. Then, lean in. Move forward. Press on toward the goal to win the prize.
Secondly, “set your minds on things above.” This same word is used in Philippians 2:5 when we’re urge to “let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (KJV). Let Christ’s attitude be your attitude. Don’t be distracted. Fill up your mind’s gaze with this new reality – raised with Christ, seated with him, fully embraced by him, he himself being your life. Keep your mind there.
(When I originally wrote this post two years ago, I was especially looking up, since my Dad, who knew Jesus well and deeply for the greater part of his adult life, had gone home to be with his Lord in the early hours of the previous morning. Truly his life “is now hidden with Christ in God.”)
Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for the full and radical transformation you have worked for me in life and eternity. By your Spirit, strengthen me to press into this reality. Capture my mind with the fullness that I cannot yet see with my natural eyes.
To your glory. Amen.
Look Up: Pause several times today to look up. Set yourself a reminder. Re-orient your gaze. “This world is not your home.” Look up.