Colossians 3:2-3 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
Whatís the first thing you do in the morning? Funny thing, is that every time I ask the question, everyone seems to have a different answer. One of the things that is rarely mentioned, is opening your eyes, its so obvious, that it may not seem worth mentioning. You do open your eyes sometime in the morning, donít you? How do you open your eyes? For some people it is simple, others have contacts or glasses that must be installed so their eyes may be fully opened. And thatís fine, for seeing the things of this earth, but if our text calls us to set our minds on the things which are above, how do we open heavenward eyes?
While you think about that, think about the others things which happen in the morning, like washing up. Now if we can wash off the dust and sleep of night, looking at it from a heavenward perspective, is there some kind of washing that also ought to be part of the morning? Contrition and repentance might be seen as a spiritual washing, looking for the forgiveness that comes by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. We might wash, but it is God who truly makes us clean. So we begin our spiritual day, by examining ourselves in the light of the 10 commandments, the law shows us our sins, and seeing our sins we are ready to receive the forgiveness that comes in Christ our Lord.
But we are still not ready for the day, are we? Our eyes might be opened, the night might be washed away, but we are not yet clothed for the day. Now its true, that some people are rather like the pompous king, in the story of the emperorís new clothes. No one really wants to parade around in their underwear, do they? And if we are thus concerned to put on the clothes of the day, shouldnít there be something also, for us to put on, in the spiritual realm?
What does our text say? "You have died." When did we die? We died at baptism, at baptism we renounced the devil, and all his works and all his ways. We died, and we were buried with Christ, that we might rise, as Christ did, to newness of life. Thatís also part of our morning ritual, daily drowning our old sinful nature, and daily rising to the new life, which is ours in Christ.
Why do we mention this? Because this new life is partly hid, as our text indicates. And because it is hidden, sometimes we might forget that it is there. And sometimes we might think that our new life in Christ, is rather like the emperorís new clothes, because it is hid, and therefore some people sometimes cannot see it, and they might begin to doubt that there is anything. I think we have all had the experience of looking at someone, and thinking, I cannot see anything Christian about them. And then looking at others and saying, now there! I can see fruit on that tree!
And at such times, it is important to remember that trees do not begin life, full grown, and already bearing fruit. Some seeds hide in the ground for a long time, some pines do not even begin to grow until after the seed has been through a fire. But there is life all the same. You know, trees by nature reach out to the heavens, and so they are an example to us. And also a reminder that some seeds are slower growing, and some times there are "dry" seasons.
Which brings us back to the beginning, and to us Ė regardless of what out morning routine might be, or what order it is done, the one thing our text would remind us of is the necessity of setting our mind on the things which are above. If you want to get somewhere, the first step is always setting your mind on your destination, otherwise, how will you know where you are going, or when you have arrived.
In travels you might get bewildered, not knowing where you are, and not certain of which way to go, and if you donít have a map to guide you, you will need to stop and ask directions. The good news is that when it comes to faith and salvation, the only thing you need to do is decide if you really want it. For when it comes to salvation, God has provided a good shepherd to lead us, guide us, guard us and provide for us, until we reach the promised reward. A good shepherd who seeks the lost, strengthens the weak, heals the lame so that in his care, all might reach the goal, of the upward call of God in Christ, the eternal life which is ours in the place prepared especially for us.
And with out minds set on the things above, there is no doubt that we will know when we have reached our goal, even if at present, our new life is partly hidden.