“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:1-4)
We’ve all got problems. We all have personal problems. They are what Paul calls “things that are on the earth” (v.2). We’ll just call them earthly realities. But we also have perception problems. That is to say, we too often conclude that these earthly realities represent a total view of reality. But that’s not true! There are also heavenly realities which must be factored in, if we are to live in a full embrace of total reality. Paul mentions five of them:
- You have died with Christ. (3a)
- You have been raised with Christ. (1b)
- You are seated with Christ. (1b)
- You are hidden with Christ. (3b)
- You will be revealed with Christ. (4)
All these are just as true, real, actual, and factual and any of the earthly realities. To borrow from Paul’s earlier words: you are “in Christ” (Col. 1:28) and Christ is in you (1:27).
But how do we see these heavenly realities brought to bear upon our earthly realities? We must undergo a change of perception. Two choices are demanded of us in this regard:
- Pursuit: “seek the things that are above” (1)
- Posture: “Set your minds on things that are above” (2a).
Apart from this, you’ll continue to reside under the distortion of your partial perception of reality.
Both of these actions must be undertaken continually and repeatedly. They must become a habit of life. Your minds must always be seeking after, in full pursuit of reality—a perception that appropriately calculates in the heavenly realities of your standing in Christ and your resources as Christ dwells in you. This is not pie-in-the-sky, but the pursuit of reality. There must also be the posture of reality—“set your mind.” We must sink footers deep, down to bedrock truth and frame up there our understanding of not only our earthly realities, but our heavenly ones as well.
Settle this in your mind: Reality upon the earth is defined by the realities of heaven, not the other way around.
In determining the posture and pursuit of your heart and mind you are not trying to make something come true. Rather you are striving to bring total reality to light in your earthly experience. You do not make these things true by your action, but you do make them evident by the choices of how you perceive reality. Your mindset does not establish the heavenly truths as reality, but it does bring you into the enjoyment of them.
The power to change my earthly experience lies, not in me, but in the heavenly realities themselves. It is my thinking and resulting choices that allow me to leverage the heavenly realities over against my earthly realities … with the result that my actual earthly experiences change.
This is the possibility and promise of people given a share in the resurrection life of Jesus!