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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

SEEK THINGS ABOVE

Colossians 3:1-4 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.

In the lesson text, Paul is speaking, by letter, to the body of Christ in Colosse. The letter, in its entirety, is directed to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ (Col. 1:2) in this city in Asia Minor. The opening phrase of the lesson text, reads, If ye then be risen with Christ.It is more correctly understoodas Because or Since ye then be risen with Christ (in baptism). The fact that they were already baptized into the body of Christ, Paul admonishes them to seek those things which, are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God; and to likewise, set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

What a great lesson from the Holy Spirit-inspired mind of the apostle Paul, addressed to the brethren at Colosse, and what a wonderful lesson from his inspired word for all Christians today. Christians live in two different worlds; the world we are physical born into, and, through the act of baptism, the spiritual world into which we are born anew. The God of our creation has provided both worlds for us. In both there are duties and responsibilities that God expects, even requires, us to fulfill, to be obedient to His will. When His word tells us to seek those things, which are above, He is not telling us to do so at the exclusion of our duties here on earth. To be slack in the performance of our duties, disobeys God's will. This is true either physical world in which we live, or the spiritual world, in which we prepare our souls for our heavenly reward.

To Adam, after falling from His grace, God said that his physical provisions of life must be obtained by the sweat of thy face (Gen. 3:19). In order to provide nourishment needed for physical life, for himself and his family, Adam was to labor in the fields to raise crops and cattle for food. This commandment of God extended into the New Testament era in the inspired writings of Paul. He told the Christians at Thessalonica if any would not work, neither should he eat. With the exception of those unable to do so, this commandment applies: that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread (See 2 Thess. 3:10-12). Although providing for ourselves and our own is required, Paul says in our lesson text that this is not to be our first love - that to which we set our affection.

If, during our lifetime here on earth, we are privileged to gain wealth, the Psalmist tells us, ...if riches increase, set not your heart upon them (Ps. 62:10b). The wisdom found in Proverbs says that riches have no eternal benefit; riches have wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven (Prov. 23:5b). All Christians should take to heart the rebuke of Peter, by Jesus. In one of Peter's worldly-minded moments Jesus admonished him, for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men (Matt. 16:23b). Where should we place our love and affection? No better words can found than those of the apostle John: Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever 1 John 2:15-17).

Do you truly love God? Are you looking forward to that day when Christ shall appear, the very day, when those that truly love God, will be gathered into His arms, fly away from this earthly home, and appear with Him in glory,before the throne of God? If so, then today, as Paul tells us, in this lesson text, make this determination: Set your affections on things above, not on things of the earth. Being bound in this physical body, how can we accomplish this spiritual goal? How do we demonstrate our affection for God while living here on earth?

The Son of God, our Savior tells us - by acts of love and affection for our fellow man. Children of God are to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, shelter and show hospitality to strangers, clothe those in need of raiment, visit and provide for the sick, as well as those in prison. Yes, we are to love God, worship Him, and study His holy word. But true love of God must also be demonstrated by acts of true love for the physical and spiritual welfare of all mankind (See Matt. 25:34-46). Start today! Seek things above! Our eternal life in heaven depends on it!