“Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”
We turn to the second command in the practical section of Colossians. We must not only “seek” things above, but we are to “think” things above. We are to put into practice what God affords us by our position in Christ.
Paul turns to a stronger term than “seek” of verse one — “Set your mind.” “Set your mind” places stress on the whole bent of life while “seek” emphasizes the pursuit of more concrete goals.
“Set your mind on things above”
If the Christian is to survive in a spiritual war, his mind must focus on eternal things (2 Cor. 4:18). “Seek” in verse one implies striving; this term implies concentration. “Mind” includes understanding, attitude, and the will. It means to employ one’s faculty for thoughtful planning, emphasizing the underlying disposition or attitude–to have an attitude, to think in a particular manner as in the attitude that Christ Jesus had (Phil. 2.5).
The false teachers of Colosse were pushing subjective mysticism. Paul condemned that in 2:20-23. God wants us to think about God’s objective provisions. When “mind” is used with “things,” it means to think about events, not simply material objects. God wants us to establish an attitude toward his provisions for us. This word also means to keep on giving serious consideration to something–to ponder, to let one’s mind dwell on, to keep thinking about, to fix one’s attention on as here–”Let your mind dwell on the things which are above.”
God wants us to love “things above.” The Greek emphasizes “things above.” “Things above” are the things that are ultimately essential, belonging to God. He wants our desire to orient around them. The wings of love soar our hearts toward eternal things.
God expects us to take responsibility for our thoughts by thinking about our union with Christ.
If we let our thoughts dwell on evil things, they will eventually become part of our attitude toward life. An attitude is an orientation to life. With a lustful attitude, our lives will orient to evil. Some modern artists call evil “realism.” The Bible calls it sin and depravity (Rom. 1:24-32). That is the attitude God wants us to have regarding evil.
Our greatest need is to think about God’s divine operating assets, which he has provided for us. God wants us to think about Christ and what he has done for us. We need to think about our union or position with him eternally.
Obviously, we are not to think about evil things, but we are not to daydream either. We dare not just think about anything. God does not want us to think about anything except what he OKs. We will save ourselves a lot of grief if we keep this in mind. Objective thinking will keep us from worrying about what will happen to our children. God wants us to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). This does not mean that all daydreaming is wrong, but it does mean that we are not to spend a great deal of time in this sphere. God wants us to lasso every single thought and tie them to Jesus Christ.
Bill Bright, after receiving the Templeton award (over one million dollars; he immediately gave it to the cause of evangelism around the world) from Prince Philip, said, “After 51 years of walking with Him, I have concluded that anything that we say or do that is not directly or indirectly related to Him is not going to accomplish very much for the good of the individuals involved and for the glory of God.”