Summary: If we fill our mind with heavenly things--as Colossians 3:1-2 instructs--we'll gradually become spiritual.


By Robert Joseph

In January of 1997, astronaut John Blaha returned to earth after spending the previous four months aboard the Russian Space Station, Mir. Besides conducting various experiments, his mission was to help scientists understand the effects of long term weightlessness in space.

But after landing, when reporters asked how he liked living in space for four months, Blaha confessed that his first month was miserable. "I kept longing for things that I loved on earth," said the 54 year old astronaut.

Then, Blaha revealed what he did to enjoy the rest of his time in space. "Finally, I decided that I had to forget them (the things he loved on earth). When I did that, then I loved being on the Space Station."

Through his ordeal in space, astronaut John Blaha discovered a great Christian truth taught by the apostle Paul in Colossians 3:1-2:

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.” [Col 3:1 NKJV] “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” [Col 3:2 KJV]

Unfortunately, “things above” can mean different things to different people. To a senior citizen, “things above” might mean an end to their pain and suffering. (1) Or, “things above” might mean being reunited with loved ones who died years ago. (1) To artists in the Renaissance era, “things above” meant pudgy little angels strumming harps while floating around on billowy clouds. (1) But, is that what Paul meant by “things above”?

Definitely not! Paul clarified what he meant by adding, “where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God.” In other words, Paul wants us to think about things that characterize the life and Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Ah! What a glorious subject Christ is! The more we learn about Him, the more we are bound to love Him. Here are just a few of the 25 different categories about Christ that we can study or meditate on:

• The birth of Christ-

• The transfiguration of Christ-

• The meekness and gentleness of Christ-

• The blood of Christ-

• The death and resurrection of Christ-

• The Lordship of Christ-

• The faith of Christ-

• The love of Christ-

• The second coming of Christ-

• The inexhaustible riches of Christ- (In whom are hid ALL TREASURES of wisdom

and knowledge- Col 3:2)

In addition, the New Testament is full of “things above” that we can think about:

Philippians 4:8 says:

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–THINK about such things.” [NIV]

Galatians 5:22-23 declares:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, [23] gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. [NIV]

Another passage is James 3:17:

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace–loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” [NIV]

Unfortunately, most believers spend their time thinking about things that don’t matter. (1) We focus on how bad things are. We focus on problems and disappointments. And we focus on temporal things like trivia, leisure, and recreation—that have no eternal significance. (1)

We’ve all heard the expression, “You are what you eat.” And, it’s true. Junk food doesn’t supply the nutrition your body needs.

Well, in much the same way, “You are what you think.” Think spiritual thoughts, and you’ll become spiritual. Think carnal thoughts, and you’ll grow carnal. But, don’t take my word for it. Let’s read Romans 8:5-

“Those who live according to the sinful nature

HAVE THEIR MINDS SET ON WHAT THAT NATURE DESIRES; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” [NIV caps added]

Let’s read this verse again from the New Living Translation:

“Those who are dominated by the sinful nature THINK ABOUT SINFUL THINGS, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit THINK ABOUT THINGS THAT PLEASE THE SPIRIT.” [NLT Caps Added]

As this verse shows, believers have two sets of desires that war against one another. To make matters worse, we live in a sinful, depraved world that rejects God.

So, “How can we live in this godless society with its many temptations—without being conformed to its values?” Colossians 3:2 gives the answer:

“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” [KJV]

Other translations say, “Set your mind on things above,” [NKJV] or “Let heaven fill your thoughts…” [NLT1]

Whichever translation you prefer, each urges us to exchange worldly thoughts, desires, and attitudes for those that please Jesus Christ.

The path to true and lasting change begins with a CHANGE OF DESIRES (seek-in vs 1)—that leads to a CHANGE OF THOUGHTS (affections- in vs 2) and results in a CHANGE OF ACTIONS. (1)

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