not on earthly things.”
Colossians 3:2 (NIV)
My granddaughter went downstairs to her dad’s office where he was totally focused on a project for work. “Hey dad, is it okay if I wear this dress to church?” Without looking up from his drawing, he replied “Sure, that’s great.”
However as she went back upstairs and came face to face with her mother, she received a totally different reaction. “Honey, why do you have that dress on? You’ve gotten so much taller and it’s too short for you to wear.”
But my granddaughter replied “Mom, I just asked Dad and he said it was okay.” Within minutes Dad was called upstairs and, as his previous conversation with his daughter was recounted, he shook his head. “I should have looked up,” he said.
In today’s Scripture, Paul tells the Church of Colossae that they should also look up. But his intent in telling them to keep focused “on things above” has a much deeper meaning. He knows that when we as believers focus on “things above,” we are actually focusing on Christ.
Now let me be the first to admit that my focus can get completely thrown off track by the “earthly things” in life. Just as my son-in-law was totally absorbed with his work, I can become totally absorbed in “stuff” in my life, like how much money and possessions I have. And I can also become focused on envy or jealousy, holding a grudge smothered in anger and forgiveness, or gossiping disguised as a “just thought you ought to know” comment.
But when my focus switches to heaven – and to Christ – I begin to understand that “as God’s chosen people” (verse 12) I need to put on His clothing of “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
Instead of gossiping about the woman sitting in a church pew quietly wiping tears, I will sit quietly by her side and share her grief.
I will find no comfort in what I own but will be able to comfort the elderly man in the care center longing for the days when he was healthy and at his home.
I will trade impatience for patience with the woman at the gas station or supermarket who is having a rough day.
Earthly things that have no value will be replaced as my mind is set on things above and on Christ.
Where is your focus? Just look up.
Father, forgive me when I focus on the unimportant things of this earth and not on you. Pull me back into your presence. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
R.A.P. it up . . .
Have you ever found yourself so focused on every day situations here on earth that you lost your focus on Christ?
Do you think it happened suddenly or was it a gradual change?
Buy a small chalkboard and chalk and place it in your kitchen or by the bathroom mirror.
Write today’s Scripture on it in the morning and at the end of the day, write one sentence describing how you focused on Christ during the day. Repeat tomorrow.
3:2 (NIV) “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
II Corinthians 4:18 (NIV) “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
John 15:19 (NIV) “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”
(For more of Nancy Hughes' writing, check out her blog, Encouragement from the War Room.)