The previous months had been wrought with bad decisions and the consequences were catching up with me. I worried about the things I needed. I became angry when situations didn’t go as planned. I tried to hide my shortcomings from people and from God. I was frustrated with my sins and their consequences. I was trying to get rid of old habits, but I was missing something.
I read a passage in Colossians that brought clarity to my frustration.
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
Make a List
Being a new creation means seeking the things that are above—a new way of life. Try making a list of the ways in which your eyes get stuck gazing at things on this earth. Then, list next to that column the new habits that will help you lift your gaze upward.
You know your own struggles. List them. Be honest and be specific.
What Keeps My Gaze on Earth
What Lifts My Gaze to Heaven
To be a new creation is to step into a new self—to be transformed by the power of Christ’s blood. Colossians elaborates on this new self. Paul says that through Christ’s blood, we are able to put to death those things that keep our eyes downward and be renewed in the knowledge of Christ.
What does it mean to die with Christ—for our life to be hidden in His (Col 3:3)? When our lives are hidden in Christ’s, our old habits no longer have power over us. We put away our anger, greed and lies by filling our minds with the knowledge of Christ (Col 3:5–9).
We do not become a new creation on our own. We’re transformed by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is able to have that power because our sins were nailed to the cross with Christ (Col 2:14). Paul says that Christ’s death is the reconciliation of all things—that means us (Col 1:20). In Christ, we are free from our old ways.
Being a new creation is not just cutting out the wrong behaviors. It’s learning to live anew. Paul says in Colossians 3:3 that we who believe in Christ have died with Him. Through Christ, we are able to seek those things that bring new life—we’re able to have new life.
We have to be intentional about replacing practices that reflect things on this earth with practices that resemble “where Christ is seated at the right hand of God” (3:1). Paul explains what seeking “the things above” looks like in Colossians 3:12–17. It means we practice compassion, kindness, humility, patience, forgiveness and love for one another.
I keep this list in my Bible as a regular reminder of who I desire to be in Christ. I’m learning to trust God to provide. I’m learning to forgive myself and others and exercise patience in God’s plan. I’m learning to be honest about my sins and find friends to hold me accountable.
All biblical references are from the New International Version (NIV).
Article courtesy of Bible Study Magazinepublished by Logos BibleSoftware. Each issue of Bible Study Magazine provides tools and methods for Bible study as well as insights from people like John Piper, Beth Moore, Mark Driscoll, Kay Arthur, Randy Alcorn, John MacArthur, Barry Black, and more. More information is available at http://www.biblestudymagazine.com. Originally published in print: Copyright Bible Study Magazine (May–Jun 2011): pg. 10.