Basic Principles of the Christian Life Part I
Seek Those Things Above
Throughout Chapter 2 of the book of Colossians, Paul talked about different dangers that threaten to pull us away from Christ. These dangers led to believers only demonstrating an outward Christianity.
In Chapter 3, Paul gets down to business. He is telling us that if we desire to live a Christian life that is real…that is effective…that makes a difference; we are going to have to get back to the basics! The very first step is to make sure that Christ is first in our lives.
Many talk today of being dedicated to the Lord. Yet I wonder if we have ever really taken the time to realize what that means. If you are dedicated to the Lord, that means that Christ is preeminent in your life! In other words, He is first! When the Christian puts Christ first in his or her life, not only do they begin to grow in their walk with the Lord, but also they begin to draw others towards Christ. If you believe in the Great Commission, you will find that this is our whole purpose in living!
This brings us to the first basic principle in our Christian life, and that is we must seek those things, which are above!
The chapter begins with the word “IF”. I want you to understand that this is not a condition. It brings with it the same meaning of our word “since”, so in reality what Paul is saying is, “since we have been risen with Christ”, since we have accepted Him as our Savior and received the new life and the power to live this new life. We should begin to apply that power in our every day life! If you are a born-again believer, your life and the way you used to live should be changed! After all, what you are experiencing through Christ is a new life!
The secret to a godly life is simple. It relies on a proper relationship with Christ. A relationship that is dependent upon the power of God. This power that ushers us into a new life is the same power that was used to raise Christ from the dead! Understand, a godly life does not come from following a set of rules and observances…this would depend on our own strength, and when we begin to compare our strength and ability with the strength and ability of God, we will always come up short.
Paul encourages us to seek those things above. The word seek brings with it an urgency…a desire…and ambition…an excitement about Spiritual things! What things? The things above, or those things that pertain to Christ or apply to the Christian life. Things such as love…joy…peace…compassion…and mercy. Paul tells us that we should be excited about these things and show urgency in demonstrating them in our own lives.
Friend, let me say that this whole idea of living a godly life is exciting! When I think about it, I can barely contain myself! I pray to God that everyone who hears this message will have their joy and excitement for the things of God renewed so that we can begin to live the life God intended for us to live.
Paul continues by saying you and I should set our affection on things above. In other words, we should set our minds on things above. Our very thoughts should be exhausted thinking on the things of Christ. Remember that Paul tells us in scripture that whatsoever things are true, hones, just…to think on these things. Setting our mind on the things of Christ should come before everything else. In Matthew 6:33 our Lord said that we are to seek first the kingdom of God. What do you think your life would be like if you began to put these teachings into practice. What if you sought God and the things of God above the things of this earth?
What do we mean by things of the earth? These are those things that many individuals are seeking after today. We find that material possessions, wealth, power, honor, and pleasure are more important to the common man than the things of God. I want you to understand that I do not believe that these things in general are evil. There are many men and women who possess these and are still very effective for Christians. What makes them bad is our mind set towards them. The Bible does not teach that money is the root of all evil, no; it teaches that the love of money is the root of all evil. Plainly, when we desire the things of this earth more than we desire the things of God, we are making a mistake.
Why is it that you and I, as Christians want to mold our thought life and actions after Christ-centered principles? We have died and our lives are now hid with Christ. Think of it this way…your past life, all the ambitions, values, and affections that you had before you accepted Christ as Savior are dead, they are hid. When people look at your life, they should now see Christ!
As a Christian you still have ambitions, values, and affections; however, Christ directs those ambitions, values, and affections. You will begin to respond to situations with the calmness and the love of Christ. Make no mistake about it, this change that is taking place, or going to take place in your life is not something you can bring about by yourself. As we have stated earlier, these changes can only take place by the power of God.
You may be wondering if there is enough power there to really make difference in your life. After all, you have made your share of mistakes. Friend, never doubt the power of God! Remember, with His power He created the universe and all that is in it. With His power, all creation bows to Him. With His power He raised Christ from the dead, and with His power He can take your sin-ridden life, and transform you into the man or woman He desires you to be!
I want to let you in on a little secret; it may be one that you already know. Christ is coming again! With each day that passes, we find ourselves one day closer to His second coming! Everything we have talked about so far…well, these are traits that you will find in the life of those who will one day meet Christ in the air! When you look at your life, what are you seeking? I pray today that it is those things above!
How are things going in your day-to-day walk with the Lord? If you are like me, you have your good days, and your not so good days. As we begin our study of the Basic Principles of the Christian life, I want you to know that there is hope for you! That hope begins right now, today, when you determine to put into practice the first principle we have learned, and you begin to SEEK THOSE THINGS ABOVE!