Set Your Mind on Things Above

Colossians 3:1-3
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

Where do we live in our thoughts and affections? What is the nearest and dearest thing to our hearts? What do we truly worship, spend our money on, and spend our time and energy in pursuing? An honest thoughtful answer may bring to us a revelation of where we are at in relationship with our God. Can we honestly say that He is at the foremost of all of these questions? If our pursuit is truly a closer walk with God, a greater sense of His presence and an increasing revelation of who He is, then this is a key to where we can start. I have heard it said that, “we become what we worship”. What are you becoming today? In order to walk close to our God, we must abide in His presence. This is the place we find holiness, communion, and the presence of God. Christ doesn’t want to be just a part of our lives; He wants to be our life. That is why we die to natural affections, that He may live in us and through us.
In order to be accomplished at any thing you must practice it over and over again. In the process of learning and perfecting a skill you will make many mistakes and experience some setbacks. That should not discourage us, but cause us to persevere the more. The Lord wants us to apply this principle to “practicing His Presence”. It becomes that place where we are ever mindful of Him, whether consciously or subconsciously. He becomes constantly a part of our thoughts. We are constantly filtering the world and activities around us through Him and through that mind of Christ that we have put on. We are constantly in silent or verbal conversation with Him. He becomes a unified part of our daily life and breath. We are in constant heavenly communication and communion. This is abiding in Christ. This is setting your mind on things above. This is the place where we enter in beyond the veil of the outer court things and we begin to commune with our God heart to heart, mind to mind and spirit to spirit. In this place our lives have become centered on His will, His purpose, His design and plan for us. It is no longer about us; it is all about Him. Our family, friends and those in the world around us get to become the recipients of God’s grace and love working through us. They may not always respond in a positive way. Jesus said your enemies might be those of your own household. When satan throws all he has against you, the blood of Jesus covers you. You simply rest, in humility and love. Matthew 5:44 says, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” When you find yourself in this place you will know that you have left off friendship with the world and you have become a friend of God. In this place of spiritual pursuit, guard against spiritual pride that wants to enter in. It is easy to begin judging others, seeing yourself as better, more spiritual and alienate yourself due to that spiritual pride. Jesus became as one of no reputation. He became the servant that got under the lowly and lifted them up. He was always bringing up the low places while He resisted and brought down the high places of spiritual arrogance and pride. His focus was always first to God and then to men. He didn’t isolate Himself, but became the servant of all.
Think what it is to set your mind on things above. Paul states it well in Philippians 2:5-8, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

Blessings
#kent

Where isYour Focus?

May 26, 2015

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things.

Where isYour Focus?

There is an old song that goes, “Set your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face and the things of earth will go strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” I believe this is what this scripture is, in effect, telling us to do. The attitude of a Christ-minded person is going to be focused on the things above and not on the things of this earth.
Our heart is to be honest and forthright in our dealings with others, because the Holy Spirit is honest with us in love as He deals with us. Our heart is to see justice, to uphold a righteous standard and integrity, judging and discerning all things out of the mind of Christ and not our flesh or earthly perspective. Our focus is on purity, putting away all defilement of flesh and spirit. In every area of our life we want to line up with God’s standard of holiness. This isn’t self-righteousness or an attitude of being more spiritual than everyone else is it is simply a mindset that runs everything we do through the purifying filter of the Holy Spirit. “What would Jesus do?” What is the attitude and position of the Word in what and how I do things? Often times our purity can be helped by accountability that helps us to see ourselves through the eyes of others and find areas that we have become blind, deceived or indifferent too. We can help wash one another’s feet by voluntarily guarding one another’s souls. We deal with each other like we would want to be dealt with, not in judgement, but in love. The enemy does his best work in the darkness of our hearts and where things are hidden. Are we doing anything that we wouldn’t want to be shouted from the rooftops? If we are able to keep all things out in the light, the enemy has nothing to work with in temptation or condemnation.
It is often so easy to see and major on the faults that we see in others and in those things around us. Here we are exhorted to look for the best, the lovely things in people and in our circumstances. Focus on the good and how God can use it to make something lovely out of that which may not be so lovely. Look for the positive attributes in people and focus on those things, being patient, longsuffering, forgiving and self-controlled concerning the areas in others that present themselves as offensive, selfish and hurtful.
Seek out the good news that edifies others and glorifies God, not on gossip, slanderous speech and backbiting. Turn away from those that only want to create dissention and find fault. We are builders and creators, not destroyers and wasters. Look for the things that are of good report, those things that speak graciously and out of a kindly spirit. How often we gather to find common ground for our negative feelings and viewpoints rather than to extol the virtues of another. If we can find any virtue and good in a person or a situation then set your mind there. Isn’t it amazing how our minds always want to gravitate to what is wrong with a person or a situation rather than what is right about it? When we see the wrongs they should compel our prayers and not our criticism.
We are in the midst of changing our paradigm and mindset. This passage definitely goes against the grain of what we have grown up with and the direction our own speech and point of view has gone. We are worshippers with praise and rejoicers in the truth. How can we rejoice in iniquity and evil? The worshippers that are filled with praise and rejoicing are focused on the goodness of God, His sovereignty and ultimate justice and righteousness ruling. We are now a kingdom people living in the kingdom of God and ruled in our hearts by kingdom principles and ways. We are exhorted in Christ Jesus to put away our negative, our pessimism, our criticism, our judgements and our impure ways. We are exhorted to set our eyes upon Jesus; ‘to look full into His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace’.

Blessings,
#kent

Affections of the Heart

August 28, 2014

Colossians 3:1-2
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

Affections of the Heart

The fixations and affections of your heart are the making of your soul. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so [is] he. (Proverbs 23:7)” ‘Where your treasure is there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:21)’
What is the desire and passion of our heart today? What are we fixed on and what is driving our lives? We might glibly say, “it’s the Lord”, but do our actions, words and life bear out that truth? Have we laid every other affection, passion and desire upon the altar and said, “have your way oh Lord”? We want our affections to be such that we are clinging to nothing else but the hem of His garment. We can deceive others and we can even deceive ourselves, but we will never deceive the Lord concerning the condition and the affections of our heart. He sees and reads us like an open book. Our words are often not our heart. They may serve only as a disguise for what we want others to think and see.
God has given us a will to choose where we will set our affections and our obedience. What are we choosing in our inward parts? Where are we truly setting our affections? A new life in Christ demands a transformation from the former man of the earth. Our transformation and metamorphosis is taking place as we are hidden in the cocoon of a Christ-centered life where He is our affection and the purpose behind all that we do. It is not done in a moment, but it is done in a process and completed in the twinkling of an eye. In order for the Spirit to have His perfect work we must remain with our affections set upon the things above and maintain a heart that is willing to relinquish all that is not of Him. “Christ in us”, that is our hope of glory.
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23-24)

Blessings,
#kent

Chasing After the Wind

June 13, 2014

Chasing After the Wind

Ecclesiastes 2:11
But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless. It was like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.

Solomon, the wisest and richest of kings wrote this book of Ecclesiastes. He was a man who said that he had it all, tried it all and none of the things of earth or the pursuits of pleasure and accomplishment were really worthwhile. They were like, “chasing the wind.”
What are we chasing in our lives? We allow so many things to consume our lives, our time, our efforts and affections, but what eternal value do they possess? What will become of them when our lives are spent and we are gone? In Mark 10:21 Jesus says to the rich young ruler, “Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.”
This man went away sad and unfulfilled because his possessions possessed him, he didn’t possess them. How many things in our lives possess us? Jesus offered the rich young ruler the one thing in life that would fulfill and complete him, but he couldn’t release the natural things for the spiritual. Jesus was letting him know and in so doing letting us know as well, if you want to pursue something more than the vanity of this life and all that it possesses there is only one way to store up treasure in heaven, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matthew 6:19-21).” Jesus makes it plain to us that wherever our affections are, our values are placed, our importance lies, that’s where our hearts will be as well. Jesus is giving the same challenge to us as he gave to the rich young ruler, “take up your cross and follow me.” We process this with our minds, but not our hearts. We don’t want to, because it means we, like the rich young ruler, we have to deal with our issues, possessions and things we don’t want to let go of, even though they are robbing us of eternal treasure. That young man was no different than many of us. He was a good kid. He loved God and lived a righteous life and no doubt attended synagogue regularly. He thought he really wanted Jesus till he had to count the cost. It would cost him everything. While salvation is free, discipleship will cost you everything. The irony is that in losing everything this life has to offer you gain the riches of eternal heavenly treasure that has value long after your natural possessions have vanished. We don’t want to make the same mistake the rich young ruler did and become offended at the gospel.
Matthew 6:24 says, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” If we are really sold out to Christ then we are willing to surrender all our earthly goods, talents and treasures to follow Christ. That doesn’t mean we all literally go cash in, give it all away to the poor and take a vow of poverty, but we do need to have come to that place in our hearts. If the Lords says sell it all and give it away we are ready and willing. Often we can tell what things mean to us by how tightly we hold on to them. We need to embrace the cross and lightly hold the things of this life for even this is the wisdom of Solomon. At the end of Ecclesiastes Solomon says this of all that he has learned of life, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether [it be] good, or whether [it be] evil (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).”

Blessings,
#kent

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