I’m sure you’ve been through trying times, perhaps the loss of job or a loved one. While surrounded by sorrow, you might have found that it helped to fix your mind on one thing, something positive and productive. For instance, work can be a true blessing. We call it “staying busy.” But Paul counsels us in Colossians 3:1-4 to set our hearts on Christ in such a way that every facet of this life is transformed by its relationship to Him.
We know we are destined for heaven. We realize we are citizens of another world. Therefore we are to set our hearts on the things of God, which are perfect and beautiful, rather than the things of this world, which are in disarray even at the best of times. When Paul wrote this statement, he used a verb tense that means “keep on doing this,” as opposed to a one-time action. In other words, it’s not “think about heaven at this moment.” It’s “keep on keeping your mind immersed in God and in His Word, all the time.” This is a discipline too few of us have mastered: the art of heaven-based thinking. Some call it the practice of the presence of God.
We need to understand what it means to “set our hearts.” According to Paul it means that our “desires and thoughts, wishing and thinking, the whole of our emotional and intellectual energy is to be directed toward (heaven), where Christ rules at God’s right side.” I imagine every one of us has centered our desires and thoughts, all our emotional and intellectual energy, on the various earthly goals in the seasons of life. Can we think and feel with the same intensity about Christ?
In times such as these we have to look somewhere for answers. The psychologist tells us we should look within. The opportunist tells us we must look around. The optimist says we should look ahead, and the pessimist says we must look out. But God says we should look up – even when we feel down.
Think for a moment about a compass that you might carry on a hike. You can turn your feet in any direction, but the arrow of the compass will faithfully point to magnetic north. That way, should you ever become lost, the compass will align your position for you. In life, our true north is Christ. Whatever direction our world’s path may twist, however off-path it may wander, our lives should point faithfully to the one and only Lord of every place, every time, every situation. When He is our determining point, everything will find its proper orientation.
“Our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). Vance Havner put it this way: “Christians are not citizens of earth trying to get to heaven, but citizens of heaven making their way through this world.” What do you think?
Thoughts from reading “Stay Centered” by David Jeremiah (Living with Confidence in a Chaotic World) — via Ken Darnell