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Summary: The Christian is to set his thoughts on "better things" instead of getting bogged down in the cares of this world.

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THE COMMAND TO BE HEAVENLY-MINDED

Col. 3:1-2

INTRO. I believe that it is possible to determine a person’s true character by finding out what they really love and what their goals are. Ask yourself these questions:

1. What are the three things you are most earnestly working for right now?

2. What are the three things you love the most?

3. What are the three things you think about the most?

This is essentially the same method used by Jesus to determine a person’s true character. Matt. 6:19-21. The heart is the seat of the emotions and it determines how and what we think (Prov. 23:7) -- "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:"

If you will be honest with yourself, you will probably find (as I did) that, for the most part, your affections, as revealed by your thoughts, are more focused on the things of this world than on the things of God. {If you question this, look at your checkbook register and see how much of your income is relegated to the financing of earthly desires.}

I. A DIFFICULT DILEMMA.

A. Why is it so difficult for Christians to set their minds and affections on eternal things? That is to say, why is it so hard for God’s people to be "heavenly-minded" people while here on earth?

B. Some might answer, "Because of our sin nature." Certainly there is some truth in that.

1. Christians do have two sets of desires that are warring against one another -- the desires of the flesh and the desires of the Spirit.

2. Paul spoke of this conflict in Gal. 5:16-17.

3. See also Rom. 7:21-23.

C. But our difficulty in focusing on eternal values cannot be completely blamed on our sin nature.

1. The fact is that God has placed Christians in a difficult (though not impossible) situation. He asks Christians to be citizens of two worlds.

2. In fact, this is such a difficult predicament that it merited a special prayer by Jesus on our behalf: Jn. 17:14-18

a. Notice that twice in this passage Jesus declares that His followers are not of this world (vs. 14,16).

b. But twice Jesus specifically says that God’s plan is not to take Christians out of this world, but rather, to send them into the world (vs. 15,18).

3. AND HEREIN LIES THE PROBLEM! How can a Christian live in this world with its responsibilities and temptations without loving this world and being conformed to its values?

D. The tension of this situation is addressed throughout the Bible.

1. (Phil. 3:20) -- "For our conversation [citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ."

2. (II Tim. 2:4) -- "No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier."

3. I John 2:15-17

E. On the other hand, the Bible also speaks of some very definite responsibilities we have while here on earth.

1. Our work, family, health, friends, money, etc.

2. So how can a Christian be heavenly-minded, and yet give the proper attention to our responsibilities here on earth?

E. Colossians 3:1-2 addresses and answers this dilemma (read).

1. According to our text, to be heavenly-minded means to conform our everyday desires, attitudes, and actions to the image of Christ.

2. In other words, being heavenly-minded simply means loving what Jesus loves, thinking like Jesus thinks, and viewing everything in our daily life from His heavenly perspective.

3. Your first thought is probably, "Well, I’ve tried that many times and I just can’t do it consistently." I understand and I can sympathize with you.

a. But just because you and I haven’t done it very well doesn’t mean it can’t be done. It just means that we have been going about it the wrong way.

b. You see, it usually works this way.

1. We read the Bible or listen to the preaching and the Holy Spirit convicts our heart of some sin in our life.

2. We determine that we are going to fix that.

3. So we make a mental judgment to eliminate "this and that" from our life and we may even go so far as to replace it with something more godly.

4. We pray for strength and announce our decision and commitment to God.

5. Then we go home and try our best to live up to our commitment. However, most of the time we find that, no matter how determined we are, we are still subject to the sins and pleasures of this world.

6. So we fail. Our failure brings frustration which often leads us to believe that since we can’t live the kind of godly life that we want, there is really no use in trying.

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