Summary: Paul gives three simple steps to how to live the Christian live -- Seek Christ, Think Christ, and Live Christ!
How does one BE Christian? How do you live the Christian life?
Paul offers three very simple steps in the passage we read this morning, and I want us to walk through them today.
The first step is very simple -- seek Christ.
There is an old Candid Camera episode. You remember that old show. They revive it once in a while. The whole series had a simple premise in which they would play some joke on people and "catch them in the act of being themselves."
In this one particular episode, a man is on a busy city sidewalk. He is standing there looking down on the ground. He walks around a bit, always keeping his eyes on the ground. People pass by and look at him, and keep walking by.
Then he gets on his hands and knees. He feels around with his hands. People slow down and look at this man whose looking for something -- contact lens, lost coin -- who knows.
Finally, one passerby stops.
She starts looking.
She never asks the first man, "what are we looking for?"
Then another passerby slows down and starts looking.
Finally, the hidden camera has caught a crowd of about a half dozen people looking intently on the sidewalk.
At that point, the actor, the first person who was looking on the ground, quietly gets up and walks away.
No one else notices that he has walked away. They are so intent on looking for -- who knows what. They never asked what they were looking for, but there they are, intently looking, trying to find whatever is lost.
If you want to live the Christ centered life, then you have to have that kind of dedication to a search.
But -- in the Christian life -- you have to know what you are looking for.
St. Paul says in the opening verses of this morning’s text, "Set your hearts on things above."
I was interested to learn this week that this phrase is very meaningful in Paul’s language and culture. To set your heart on something is to seek something. To look for something.
If you want to live the Christ Centered life, then you have to dedicate yourself to a lifetime of seeking, of looking -- not in the sense of the Candid Camera episode where people are just looking for whatever they might find, but looking for and seeking something specific -- namely, the things of Christ.
When you become a Christian, you become a student. A student of Christ.
But it is not like going to elementary, middle and high school and finishing up when you finish 12 years -- or for some of us, 13 years.
Nor is it like college where it is 4 years and you’re out on the job market.
It’s a life-time of study.
You never graduate as a student of Christ. Because there are always things you will be able to learn.
Paul told his own student, Timothy, (2 Tim 2:15, KJV) "Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
This emphasis on seeking and learning new things about God and Christ permeates the entire Bible. In the Old Testament, Proverbs 9:9-10 says, "Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning. ’The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.’"