Living A Focused Life

End of summer 024Last time I talked about the fact that as Christians we are citizens of heaven and that we are to stay focused on the things of God, the things above rather than the things on this earth.  How do we do this?  How do we live a life that is focused on the things of God?  How will our lives be different from the person who is entrenched in the things of this world?

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.

Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.  For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them.  But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.  Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him— a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.  Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.  Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.  Colossians 3:1:17, (New American Standard Bible or NASB).

Because we have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God we are no longer citizens of earth but citizens of heaven.  How do we live as a citizen of heaven on this earth?  How do we live differently than non-Christians?  We are not the first people to wonder how we are to live out our faith and the Apostle Paul gives some great guidance in this area in the letter he wrote to the church in Colossae.  Paul begins with a list of the things that pretty much describes the world’s priorities and then contrasts that list with the things that Christians are to place emphasis upon.   Let’s break it down.

The World’s Focus: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth, lie to one another, distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman. 

The world’s focus is filled with individualism and putting our own needs first before others.  We see this in our world today, don’t we?  Passion seems to rule in many forms of evil thinking.  So what is the result of this kind of life?

For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.  For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.  Romans 8:5-8, (NASB).

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.  Galatians 5:19-21, (NASB).

The Christian’s Focus: Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him— a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.  put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.  Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.  Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. 

The Christian focus is to be entirely different from the worlds.  We are to put others before ourselves.  We are to be compassionate and loving and caring toward others.  We are to not be prejudice toward others.  We don’t lie to each other and we forgive because Jesus forgives us.  We are to be gentle and patient not quick-tempered and we are to help bear the burdens of others.  We are to face life with wisdom and give songs of praise to God because we know what our future will be.

 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.  For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.  Romans 8:1-4, (NASB).

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.  For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.  Galatians 5:16-18, (NASB). 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.  Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.  Galatians 5:22-26, (NASB).

To live a life focused on God and our heavenly citizenship is challenging for sure.  I have not mastered this life but I have confidence that one day I will be in heaven and will leave this battle behind me.  I don’t know about you, but I would rather live a life of compassion and be an encourager than to live a life of arrogance and conceit. Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  I am so thankful that I will not be condemned on judgement day because the blood of Jesus covers me!

Until next time…Katherine    End of summer 027

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