6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: Colossians 3


What is on your mind? What do people think of? A while ago a group called The Brainwaves group surveyed 1,000 adults on what personal values and concerns are ¡§always on their minds.¡¨.

33% (the lowest percentage) says ¡§Power/influence to get what I want.¡¨

(Going up) Traditions /customs - 36%

41% answers to ¡§Making the world a better place.¡¨

43% strives for ¡§Being respected in society.¡¨

45% replies, ¡§Fun/enjoying life.¡¨

51% (second highest) pts for ¡§Stability/security.¡¨

64% (the highest) aims to ¡§Relationship with loved ones.¡¨ (Seattle Times, A Renewed Sense of Community, Dec 8, 1996)

Colossians 3 is a very practical down-to-earth chapter for believers in the areas of conversation, mind, attitude and temperament and body. As in many of his letters, Paul begins with theology before proceeding to the practical, instruction before inspiration. He issued no imperatives in chapter one to the Colossians, four in chapter two (vv 6, 8, 16, 18) and as many as 16 imperatives in chapter 13.

The first two chapters of Colossians exalts on Christ, the next two chapters encourages Christians. How are we to live in Christ, for Christ and like Christ? How are we to progress and not regress in spiritual maturity? Why is Christ not just a person to learn about, but a presence to live out?

Think of Things Above ¡V Look Beyond

1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Col 3:1-4)

These are the amazing lyrics of blues legend B.B. King¡¦s song ¡§Better Not Look Down¡¨:

An old girl friend of mine showed up the other day

That girl had lived in love and for love

And over love, and under love all her life

If the arrows from cupids bow that had

Passed through her heart had been sticking

Out of her body she would have looked like

A porcupine, and she asked me

B.B. do you think I've lived my life all wrong?

And I said, The only advice I have to pass

Along is concealed in the chorus of this song

Girl, better not look down if you want to keep on flying

Put the hammer down keep it full speed ahead

Better not look back or you might just wind up crying

You can keep it moving if you don't look down

I was walking down the street at sunrise one morning in London, England

And there was a very large Rolls Royce Limousine

Pulling slowly along the street

And in that Rolls Royce was the Queen of England

Looking tired, just got back from a party

And the Queen leaned out and she said, Aren't you B.B. King?

She said, Oh B.B., sometimes it's so hard to pull things together

Could you tell me what you think I ought to do? And I said

You better not look down if you want to keep on flying

Put the hammer down keep it full speed ahead

Better not look back or you might just wind up crying

You can keep it moving if you don't look down

The first and second imperative centers around the repetition of the phrase ¡§things above¡¨ in verses 1 and 2. The first imperative in the text is ¡§set hearts¡¨ (v 1) or simply ¡§seek¡¨ things above in KJV. An imperative implies compulsory, compelled, certainty, confident, not coincidental, carefree or contradicted. Set hearts or seek is also translated elsewhere as inquire (Acts 9:11), endeavor (Acts 16:10) and go about (Rom 10:3). It means a concerted, conscious and continual effort and not a carefree, casual and calloused attitude. It means to be proactive and not passive, to pursue and not pause, and press on and not pull back. It is in the present tense, which means continuous, constant and conscious. The direction ¡§above¡¨ (v 1) means brim (John 2:7), up (John 11:41) and high (Phil 3:14).

The second imperative ¡§set your mind¡¨ (v 2) is translated as savor (Matt 16:23), think (Acts 28:22), mind (Rom 8:5), regard (Rom 14:6), likemind (Rom 15:5), understand (1 Cor 13:11) and care (Phil 4:10). The verb ¡§phroneo¡¨ (set mind) is the term behind the medical word ¡§schizophrenia,¡¨ where there is a schism or a split of the mind. It implies to consider, to concentrate, to comprehend, not to lapse or be lazy. Things above is contrasted with things on the earth. The next mention of earth (v 5) will give us a clue to what Paul means. It refers to things that are depraved, disobedient and dishonorable.

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