My Bible titles chapter 3 of Colossians as “What Christians should do”. At first glance it does look like a long “to-do” list! Those lists have a way of getting some people to revert to thinking that if they don’t do enough then either they won’t get to heaven or they won’t get as big as a reward as the person who does more.
I’m really glad I didn’t read the title before I read the first four verses of the chapter! They hit me in a new way. First of all, when Paul repeats himself, I perked up!
“..set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not an earthly things.” (3:1-2).
Did ya catch the repeat?
And, I loved this,
“When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (3:4)
Talking about some great perspective before launching into the “to-do” lists. If you set your mind on things above and if Christ is truly, “your life”, the to-do list that follows would be so natural you wouldn’t even have to think about it! Right? Exactly!
So, the questions are… Do you set your mind on heaven? Is Christ your life? Does everything you do relate somehow to getting to Christ?
Picture this… You need to catch a train at 12 PM to meet up with the love of your life.
- You have already bought your ticket.
- You get up at 6 AM to take a shower in preparation for the day.
- You pack a bag of clothes.
- You pack some food.
- The phone rings, but you don’t answer it because the conversation will delay you.
- You leave instructions for the pet sitter.
- You order an Uber.
- You make sure your phone is charged so you can pay the Uber who will be taking you to the train.
- You check Google maps for the best way to arrive to the station.
- You eat breakfast and clean the dishes quickly in order to leave on time.
- You lock up your house, leave with Uber, arrive on time to the station and check to make sure the train is on time.
- You head to the correct platform, the doors of the train open, you board the train and find your seat.
Everything you did since the time you woke up was directed to catching the train! You did nothing else to distract you from that end goal. That is an illustration of “setting your heart on things above”. The to-do list that follows in verse 5-10 would be things that would distract, (according to the illustration), from catching the train. Of course you wouldn’t do them! It’s not even on your radar to do them! So it’s not a chore or difficult to avoid the things listed there when your mind is on the end goal.
As far as the list of things chosen people would do (3:12-25), they are the natural items to do as you get ready for the train-so to speak. Those things aren’t chores either when you start with the frame of mind- “I’m heading to heaven, and I can’t wait because I am going to be with Jesus, the love of my life!”