Scriptural Sundays: Set Your Mind on Things Above

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I was going to write about something today, but after what I heard in Sunday School this morning I knew exactly what I needed to write. Don’t ya just love it when the LORD does that?!

The past few weeks we’ve been watching a video series entitled, “The Explicit Gospel” by Matt Chandler, pastor of The Village Church in Dallas, TX. The Bible Study series is a 20 minute sermon from the series he did at his church with the same title. We follow along with fill-in-the-blank note pages. Now, I am all about the note pages, because that’s how I actually keep myself focused and I just like to write. It helps me remember things better. But I seriously have a hard time keeping up with all the good nuggets of knowledge he’s giving us – and I’m a pretty fast writer!

So today I’m sitting in class, listening and taking notes, when all of a sudden several things strike me. And I mean they smacked me square in the face!

{Before I begin, let me say that if you want to know the basic premises of these videos and why he did this series with his own church, you can listen to the promo video here. But, if you want more now, PLEASE go listen to this sermon he delivered as a speaker at another church. It’s well worth 58 minutes of your life!!}

Moving on. So today he was speaking from Colossians 3, specifically verses 1-3. I’m not going to regurgitate the entire message for you, because trust me, I couldn’t do it justice if I tried. But today I want to challenge you with a few points that really hit home for me, as a Christian woman and as a mom.

“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.” – Colossians 3:1-3 (ESV)

Having grown up in church, I have read and heard those words spoken my entire life. But it really wasn’t until today that I understood what they meant – at least not entirely. First let me say that as a homeschooling mom I’m learning that I not only need to watch my attitude at all times, but I must also listen to how I say things. For instance, Mister Bull takes things very literally. When he was 3yrs old and in preschool, they used a phrase that to most adults would make sense, but to a 3yr old; however, it was detrimental to our relationship as mother/son at home. They would simply tell the kids that “you are responsible for yourself.” To my literal son that meant that no one else – including mom and dad – could tell him what to do or how to act. We learned then that we had to be very careful how we said and phrased things around him.

Today in the video he said, “If intimacy with God, for you, hinges on your ability to manage your own behavior, you will never walk intimately with God.” (emphasis mine) WOW!!! If we’re only worshipping God when we’re on the mountain top of life or when we’ve been sober for a year or quit smoking or ______________, you fill in the blank – then we’ll never walk intimately with Him. That statement led to a discussion that not only Christians, but our society has engrained in us that proper behavior is what pleases those in authority. While that may be true in the work place, that is only partly true with God. If you are a true believer and follower of Christ, Colossians 3:3 says that is NOT true! Our former life, meaning our life before Christ got a hold of us, is “dead” and “hidden” from God. Our love and devotion to him and his things are what please God. The good works are an outpouring of that love and devotion.

But, in order for that to be true in our lives, we must first walk away from our old life – totally and completely. We cannot be concerned with the things of this world: sports statistics and games, pornography, more money, higher paying jobs – whatever it is that consumes our energy and time here on earth. He also said that “sin loses its grasp on our hearts when God is a greater delight than the things below (or earthly things).” Another WOW moment for me. When we have completely focused our eyes on the things above – God, Christ Jesus – then, why would we even want to give in to those earthly temptations?

So, that got me thinking, how can I make sure my kids get this? How can I make sure they understand our focus is on “the things above” and not on silly earthly things that will “all pass away”? I don’t want my kids “to be conformed to a pattern of religion” rather than “being transformed by the Holy Spirit of God” asChandlersaid on the video.

We are taught and conditioned from a young age that God wants us to please him with our actions. “You need to obey your teacher, because that’s what God wants.” “You need to mind your mom and dad because that makes God happy.” And the list could go on and on. These statements are only true to an extent. If you’re only doing things to make God happy or pleased with you, then you’ve completely missed the Gospel. There is no right pattern on how to be the best Christian or 12-step program to follow on how to get into Heaven. It’s simply this: we must have an internal desire and delight within ourselves for Christ Jesus.

The ONLY way we can become the best Christ follower God has called us to be is the Gospel (I Corinthians 15:3-4). We must violently turn against those things the Enemy teases us with – things that take our focus off Christ. We must “choke it out and put it to death” that which is below (or earthly things) with the Scriptures and truths God has given us.

He gave a simple, yet powerful illustration this morning. You hear stories all the time of people having wild animals as pets (lions, tigers, pythons) that have “uncharacteristically” turned on them and harmed their trainer or owner. REALLY?! Those animals were created to be hunters and predators. No matter how young you get them or how much you “train” them, they will eventually do what they were created to do.

So, I asked myself, what am I teaching my kids about our Creator. How can I teach them to focus their eyes and minds on the things of God rather than on the earthly things that so entangle us? Am I showing them how to focus on Godly things or do I put too much emphasis on earthly things? Are the words and phrases I use to teach and discipline them pointing their hearts to God or to just ‘being good’?

The only way to make sure I am teaching them to focus on Godly things (things above) is for me to actively do two things (which also happen to be Chandler’s conclusion):

  1. Actively grow in my understanding of Jesus Christ and filling my life with things that help that delight grow in me.
  2. Put to death that which is below.

I’m so blessed and honored to serve a Mighty God that will continually help me “get” these concepts and show me grace when I fail. But, I want to fail less and DELIGHT more!! How about you?

Blessings,

Annette

If you’re interested in his book, The Explicit Gospel, or the video/Bible Study series, you can easily purchase them at Christianbook.com. (this is not an affiliate link)

Linking up:

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Raising Homemakers

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Our Simple Country Life – Hearts 4 Home Thursdays

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Annette has been married to her husband and best friend since 2003. Together they are raising their six children to follow the Lord’s will, no matter what. Annette longs for the day when she will meet all her angel babies who have entered heaven before her. She enjoys creating fun and engaging printables, unit studies and curriculum for homeschool families. You can follow her crazy life at In All You Do where she blogs about marriage, parenting, and homeschooling all while maintaining her sanity. She is also the owner of Thrifty Homeschoolers, where she shares free printables and resources from around the web as well as deals on curriculum and homeschooling resources. You can also keep up with her via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
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