Set your mind on things above… Growing up in the church, this was something I commonly heard. But what does it mean to think about things above? Are we called to think about God? Or heaven? Our future in Him? Or is there more to it than that?
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Define “things above”…
The first step to understanding how to set your mind on things above is to define “things above.”
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. – Colossians 3:1-4
- …where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. – Yes, we are called to think of heaven. But this verse takes it a step further in reminding us that Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God. The truth of heaven is that Jesus is reigning as King. So while here on earth we will experience trials and struggles, we must never forget that Jesus overcame the world.
- …not on the things that are on earth. – It is so incredibly easy to dwell on earthly matters. After all, we live here and experience it all both physically and emotionally. But we are called to think about spiritual truths first and foremost… to see our earthly circumstances through spiritual eyes.
- …your life is hidden with Christ in God. – The Bible tells us that we are seated with Christ in heavenly places. This is the truth about who you are in Him. And no matter what happens on this earth, nothing can take that away from you.
- …revealed with Him in glory. We have a glorious future in Christ! I love the word “revealed.” It implies that something which is already true is finally coming to the surface. You know who you are in Christ, and one day it will be revealed to all.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. – Romans 8:18-19
Understand your situation from a new perspective…
So now that we know the definition of “things above,” we must retrain our thinking. When life throws us a curve ball, when tragedy strikes, or when we’re struggling with earthly circumstances beyond our control, we have to remember where we are currently seated. And we must make the conscious choice to think differently.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. – Ephesians 2:4-7 (emphasis added)
Most of Paul’s letters were addressed to those who were suffering for their faith. Many endured hardship and loss that you and I can’t even imagine. And even then, Paul made a point to remind them of their hope and glorious future in Christ. He told them to rejoice in the midst of their circumstance and to never forget who they already were in Christ.
Take thoughts captive that shouldn’t be there…
Let’s face it. Even when we try to change our thinking, negative thoughts still find their way into our minds. The enemy is constantly trying to keep us from thinking of things above. He wants you to worry about your circumstances, to isolate you and make you feel alone in this world. He desires for you to stress and to feel hopeless in your situation. This is why our thought life is so important.
The Bible tells us that when the enemy tries to invade our thoughts, we have the power of the Holy Spirit enabling us to take every thought captive.
We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. – 2 Corinthians 10:5
If you want to set your mind on things above, you have to understand who you are in Christ and what is true in Him.
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.