Thursday, January 21, 2010

Therefore IF...

"Therefore if you have been raised with Christ,
keep seeking the things above,
where Christ is,
seated at the right hand of God."
Colossians 3:1

Hopefully by now you've almost got it down. I just wanted to make a few, quick observations about each phrase...just little things that come to mind when I think of this instruction.

Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ
  • I love the word "if" here - Paul was an incredible communicator and it is not a mistake that he uses the word "if." This makes me pause and think - either I am raised with Christ or I'm not. If I am going to follow the instructions of the rest of the passage, I had better be sure that it applies to me.
  • "raised up with Christ" - what exactly does that mean? We were dead in our sins and have been made alive in Christ. He has raised us up from the dead. Not only has He raised us from the dead but He has elevated our status from slave to sin to fellow heir, child of God. The way this is phrased, by the way, puts the raising in someone else's hands, not ours - we have been raised, we did not raise ourselves. Christ is the "raiser", we're just along for the ride!
keep seeking the things above
  • Again, Paul makes me smile here. He assumes that if we are believers, we are naturally seeking God, so he encourages us continue in what should come naturally to us. However, we know the truth - so often our flesh chooses for us and we don't really have any interest in seeking God. He's saved us, what else do we have to know? Paul won't even make room for a strange comment like that - he teaches with his assumption. You're a believer, then you naturally seek after God.
  • As for the things above, Paul wants us to get out of our comfort zone and quit living horizontally. Quit trying to rationalize life in view of your own experience and knowledge. Vertical view is the godly view. If we seek the things above, there is an implication that the things above will shed a different light on life than only focussing on the things below. How often do we justify our sinful responses because of how we are being treated, rather than choose to have a godly response despite other people's sin?
  • By seeking the things above, there is also an implication of effort. Seeking doesn't mean that you walk in the kitchen and see your keys and say, "Oh, I found my keys!" Seeking means that you pull up the couch cushions, check the bathrooms, dig through your purse and find your keys on the front hall table. Then you can truly say that you found them. If we are seeking the things above, we are putting in effort to learn God's ways, His thoughts and His Word.
where Christ is
  • If there is any doubt of whether there is life after death, Paul uses these three simple words to remind us - Jesus is alive. He is not below, in the grave, waiting in Sheol, or doing some kind of soul sleep. He is alive and in heaven...
seated at the right hand of God
  • And here's what He's doing...He is seated. This is a comparison to the priestly duty of interceding on behalf of the people. They never sat because their work was never done. But Jesus' work is finished. He accomplished on the cross our ultimate intercessory work and there is nothing left to do to bridge the gap between His Father and man. Therefore, He gets the honor of sitting.
  • Of course we know that He is still interceding but as One who understands and identifies with what we are going through. (just had to throw that in)
  • The fact that He is seated at the right hand of God tells us that He is in a place of honor. By seating Him at His right hand, God gave Jesus equal honor with Himself, as well as authority and power. It made Him pre-eminent over all. It underscored that Jesus is God. Period.
So, keep working on this verse but as you think through each phrase, let your mind drift to the heavenlies. Get a picture in your mind of what we are to seek that is above. What does this verse teach us about God? about Jesus? And then test yourself - what are you seeking? Where do you find wisdom? What is your life built upon? What difference would it make if you sought what was above? What would that look like in your life?

Make it personal.

Have a good one!

1 comment:

  1. Kristen,

    I love the way you look at scripture. Thank you for sharing your pattern of thinking...I learn so much from slowing down and thinking with you!! Your challenge is greatly appreciated!

    What WOULD my life look like if I were CONSTANTLY seeking what/who is above.... And who might see the light of the one I would be seeking, because they would no longer see me??? I want to be this seeker in a terrible way. Thank you for the reminder!

    In Christ,