FYI: I've not abandoned the "Attributes of Obedience" study, I'm just kind of all over the place right now. I intend to post the rest of the study soon.)
Yesterday my wife and I attended a church service where a good friend was preaching. As most of you know, our presence at a church building is pretty monumental these days, so as we left, I scoured the foyer in order to see what church related things I could find on their tables (don't ask me why). I quietly grabbed a prayer sheet, tucked it in my Bible and we left. I got it out this morning and read over the sheet that is much like every other prayer request sheet in every church in America. It listed health needs, prayer requests, missionaries and praises within the church. As I read through them, it easily stood out that out of the 2 pages of listings, under “Praise!” there was one listing. As I thought about how there must be more that is praiseworthy than this, even within the small congregation, I reflected back on the Rhema Word for this morning.
Colossians 3:2 - “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”
Something within me clicked with what this verse is really saying. Of course it’s encouraging us to not be focused on things of the earth that are quickly passing away, but I think it’s much deeper than that. You see, when we’re setting our minds on things above, we’re choosing to live in a heavenly mindset and follow its order. What is heaven’s order? What is heavens primary activity? Praise! When we’re enveloped with activities of earth, we cannot praise the same. When my affections, as the KJV calls it, are only set on what I need to accomplish here, praise is pushed out. Why? Because it becomes all about what I need, what I want, what I must do. When my mind is set on heavenly things, the heavenly order, it is set on praising my God. My gaze is turned off of me and onto Him. As a citizen of Heaven, things are put in the right order and I can live on this earth without being of it - my whole perspective changes.
Too many times I find myself attempting to add Godly things to my earthly life. This cannot and will not produce “heavenly living”. I will never live an on earth as it is in heaven life if the majority of my identity is rooted in the natural world. The Word states that I’m seated now in heavenly places with Jesus – knowing this, I need to think like it. I need to speak like it. I need to arrange my entire life with this in mind. In that mindset, with my affections set on these heavenly things, then, and only then, will I live a life of true praise. It will no longer be about my needs, my wants and my desires – it will only be about praising the Lord for all He has done.
I don’t know why I often keep revisiting things that I already know, yet don’t live out. Jesus will not be an “add onto what I’m already doing” Lord. He has called me to deep places in Him and thankfully, He continues to tell me that He will settle for nothing less than all of me. So I choose, even if for the hundredth time, to set my mind on things above - things that are filled with praise for my Saviour, things that are loosing things of heaven to infiltrate the things of earth. I will re-establish a life devoted to praise above all else.
I'd like to add, on a side note, that our friend's message was (ironically) on dying to self - how fitting. Great job Andrew.