Summary: Colossians 3:1-2: “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek those things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not things that are of the earth.” (ESV)

It’s a New Year: What You Seek Is What You’ll Get

Text: Colossians 3:1-2: “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek those things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not things that are of the earth.” (ESV)


We’re standing at the threshold of another New Year, and as I thought and prayed about what I wanted for myself for this New Year, I was drawn to these verses and this sermon I had preached in this pulpit, 5 years ago. I searched and sought and could find nothing better. So, I feel, with the Lord’s permission, I can deliver this enhanced and revised message to you for the New Year.

All Christians should want what God wants for us. Paul was saying to the Colossians and us: what you seek is what you’ll get. God is reminding us through these words to be hungry for the things of God. This is the resolution that all Christians should take for this coming year:” God, help me to seek the things that are above, because that’s where You are.”

But if we set our affections on things of the earth and seek only those things that the worldlings seek after: money, fame, prestige, power, influence, popularity, and getting more “stuff,” then we will get just what we seek. The Lord spoke through Paul in his letter to the Galatians these words of warning for Christians: “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked – for whatever a person sows that is what they will reap. For the one who sows to the flesh, will of the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit, will from the Spirit reap eternal life” (Gal. 6: 7, 8).

God wouldn’t have had His servant write these words unless He thought it was crucially important for His children learn to walk in the Spirit, to desire the things of the Spirit, and in all our ways, be led by the Spirit. (Gal. 5: 16-18). But we must remember that the strength to seek the things which are above comes from Him, because He is our life. We cannot do it in our own strength.

We must recall II Cor. Chap. 12. Paul had what he called “a thorn in the flesh; a messenger of saten sent to buffet me.” The word “messenger” is from the Greek word for angel. This angel was from saten, a demon afflicting Paul. He goes on to say that he prayed to Jesus three times for this thorn to be removed from him. Jesus heard his prayer, and He answered his prayer, with a big “NO!” Jesus said He was not going to remove this demonic being from Paul. He was going to leave it to continue to be a thorn in his flesh and continue to buffet him. He then gave Paul, and us, the reason. Jesus said, “My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” (II Cor. 12:9).

Paul went on to say” “I will glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (II Cor. 12:9, 10). As this new year unfolds, Jesus may allow trials in our life, to help us learn to turn to Him, admit our weakness, and say, “Lord, I agree with your words to Paul: Your grace is enough for me, and You’re allowing these tribulations, to help me grow in grace and Your knowledge and to learn to trust You more, so Your strength may be perfected in me.”

Earlier in this letter to the Colossians Paul encouraged them to be grounded and settled in the faith and not be moved away from the hope of the gospel (Chp. 1: 23). God knows that the tendency of the flesh is not to seek after the things of God and His will, so we need to be reminded of this, especially as this New Year dawns before us.

He said to “seek those things that are above.” Any good philosopher, or humanist, or even an atheist could say things like this: have high ideals; seek after pure and lofty things; be good, do good, be kind, be compassionate – but these are all very abstract and impersonal concepts to most people. The difference between Paul and philosophers --between Christians and those that seek to “do good,” is that for us, the goal is a personal one: the reason we are to seek those things that are not earthly, is because “above” is where Christ is seated. He is our Lord, our Master and our King. We can’t be satisfied with “things” however good they may seem.

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