“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:17)
Whenever we meet someone who is really living for Jesus in the way Jesus spoke and Paul writes we are inclined to think they are a bit fanatical, maybe a lot fanatical. The Christian of the twenty first century has little opportunity to observe such people. We find them in the biographies of past times. We have generally succumbed to insipid mediocrity being more concerned that a truly spiritual life might offend others in the church and would isolate us. We find it easier to please people than to please Jesus. Paul wrote, “Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men … for you serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:23, 24). Each of us must ask ourselves whether we really do serve Jesus or just ourselves.
If we live as Paul exhorts we will find others who also live that way with whom we can have a more vital friendship and kinship. Also, if we walk in the manner he describes we may be a means of encouraging others to do the same.
Earlier in his letter Paul had given two instructions that if any Christian will follow would set them on a path walking with Jesus Christ. The way he presents it is that it is the reasonable way of life for a person who is a Christian: “If then (since) you were raised with Christ” (3:1).
The two overriding instructions guide us as to the general activity and attitude of our lives if we are walking with Jesus.
The preoccupying activity of a spiritual Christian is, “seek(ing) those things which are above” (v1). The reason for this Paul writes is that Jesus is there with the Father. It is for us to assess our own lives as to whether we are seeking things above or below.
Secondly, Paul writes that we would do well to set our minds on things above (v 2). While we do live in this world temporarily, the things above are eternal. “The things of earth will grow strangely dim” the song writer reminds us so why not start now?
An inevitable future experience for a Christian is motivation for us to live this way. Jesus who is our life will appear and we shall appear with Him in glory (v 3). Paul wants us to be ready for the day Jesus comes to receive us to Himself. Seeking heavenly things and having our mind on things above will guide us into wisdom for living and affect how we live today.
Jesus and Paul both exhort us to be heavenly minded and not earthly minded, to have our minds set on things eternal and to seek things above. Does that sound fanatical or is it the normal Christian life as Paul sees it?
This is indeed the normal Christian life but it does not appear to be very common. We will never be as heavenly minded as Jesus and may not match Paul for heavenly mindedness either but that is no reason not to set our minds and hearts to live this normal Christian life. It is a path that finds its goal in Jesus “Christ who is our life.” Amen.