Bible Question:

This morning I was reading and meditating on Colossians 3:1-2. Could you give me some tangible heavenly things we are to seek. Please name some of the things above we are to set our affections on.

Bible Answer:

The passage that you are referring to is as follows:

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. (NASB) Colossians 3:1-2

The Context

The key to understanding “things above” and what we are to set our affections on comes from the verses before and after the passage. So we look first at Col. 2:6-23. Here we discover that God encourages us to ignore standards of conduct or “standards of holiness” that have only the appearance of holiness. Standards established by men that command us to not touch, not taste and not handle are not God’s standards of holiness.

If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch! (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence. (NASB) Col. 2:20-23

“Dos” and “Don’ts” are standards of man-made religion. Instead of giving us lists of commands that are to be fulfilled out of obligation and duty, God appeals to our hearts and encourages us to “walk in Him.” Therefore, Paul makes that appeal in verses 6-7.

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. (NASB) Col. 2:6-7

How did Jesus walk? He desired to please the Father and so He obeyed, living a holy life. He wants us to live as He lived in obedience to the Father.

After the passage that you have asked about, Col. 3:1-2, we discover that God’s holy standard for our lives is to avoid immorality, impurity, evil desire, greed, and lustful passion.

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. (NASB) Colossians 3:5-7

The verses before and after Colossians 3:1-2 are concerned about living a godly life. We are encouraged to avoid a life that is characterized by “dos” and “don’ts.” We are not to measure our standard of holiness by the things that we avoid. Instead, God measures our lives by what we desire to do and what we do. Are you desiring and seeking to live for God, to live according to your new life in Jesus Christ? If so,

. . . put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him . . . (NASB) Col. 3:10

God never intended for Christians to live a life filled with things to be avoided. Instead we are to live a holy life that is motivated from a desire to please God. In the process of seeking to please Him, we will want to avoid things that are not holy. We should desire to be holy because we want to and not because we have to or must.

Seeking and Setting

So what does it mean to “keep seeking the things above” and to “set your minds on the things above”? The answer is found in the heart of one who seeks and longs to please God. One who desires to know God and to be like our holy God will seek the things that are above – Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit. Our thoughts will be occupied with a desire to know God and heaven – our future home. We will want to see Him face to face, have an eternal relationship with Him, and to please Him with our lives.

Think of . . .
Stepping on shore, and finding it Heaven!
Of taking hold of a hand, and finding it God’s hand.
Of breathing a new air, and finding it celestial air.
Of feeling invigorated, and finding it immortality.
Of passing from storm to tempest to an unknown calm.
Of waking up, and finding it Home. – Hazel Fellerman, Poems That Live Forever

Conclusion:

Think on the things above, where Christ is!

Reference Links:

God's Great Passion
Vision of God
Finally Together!