Be Heavenly Minded
As we come into chapter 3 of Colossians, the stage has been set. We left chapter 2 with the idea that anything that adds to or subtracts from Scripture is not the truth…it is man-made legalism. Legalism can hold us captive, but in Christ, we have been set free, and this is how chapter 3 begins.
“If then you have been raised with Christ…” All that follows in this chapter is written to those who are believers. Those who are followers of Christ. Those who have been given new life and are no longer bound to their old selves. We, as authentic followers of Jesus Christ, are to “set our minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
You’ve probably heard the saying, “She is so heavenly minded that she is of no earthly good.” But this contradicts verse 2 which specifically exhorts us to be heavenly minded. I think that we would all agree that we do not want to be exclusively earthly minded. So, we settle into the idea of a balanced mindset, and this is where American Christianity has taken a bad turn.
Colossians 3:2 does not say, “set your mind on things that are above in addition to things that are on earth.” Why is this? Matthew Henry, in his commentary of the Colossians, says, “Heaven and earth are contrary
one to the other, and a supreme regard to both is inconsistent ; and the prevalence of our affection to one will proportionably weaken and abate our affection to the other.” In other words, if we are “balanced,” we weaken our affection for both heaven and earth.
American Christianity takes pride in the fact that we do not love the things of this earth “like unbelievers” while at the same time boasts that we accept and affirm unbelievers in order to win them. Perhaps our affections are weakened to this earth, but as much as we love the things of earth, we weaken our love for heaven. Our Christianity becomes lukewarm, and God is clear in Revelation 3:16 that this Christianity He will spit out of His mouth.
Romans 8:6 says “to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” For us set our minds on things above, we must do two things. We must discard the things of the flesh and take on the things of the Spirit. Verses 5-9 show us what discarding the flesh looks like.
We are to get rid of sexual immorality, impurity, rage, evil desire, covetousness, anger, wrath, malice, slander, obscene talk, lying, and all the practices of our old, sinful selves. This covers it all. While we may be able to say, “I have not committed sexual immorality”, none of us can say that we have never been angry, gossiped or lied. We all have something to put off.
How do we practically put off the old self? We set our minds on things above. While it is that simple, it is not that easy. The world, our flesh, and the devil are constantly at work pulling our minds back to earthly things. This is the spiritual battle, and to win the battle we must be heavenly minded. Not lukewarm. Not “balanced.” But centered on Christ constantly putting our old selves to death.