What do you think about? Where do your thoughts dwell? What activities are most important to you? The apostle Paul said: “set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Col 3:2) Our mindset governs how we live our life! Our mindset must be right if we are following Jesus.
Jesus said: “Follow me” when he was on earth. His disciples followed. Every day they could see him and hear him. It was easy to follow because he was right there physically with them.
Today, Jesus still says follow me. But, he’s not here with us. He is in heaven. So we look to the counsel of Paul and ask how do we set our minds on things above?
We are called to live a vertical life (with a horizontal component). Too often we live a horizontal life — minds set on earthly things — with a vertical component — Church Attendance.
As we look at the demand to set our minds on things above, let’s remember two more important verses:
Matthew 6:33 — Seek first his kingdom and righteousness and all these things will be added to you.
Romans 12:2 — Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Now the How!
It’s easy to identify things we should do in our lives. The two verses you just read are reminders of these things. But we often get bogged down in how we are to do the things we know to do! Here are six things you can do to help you get your mindset on things above.
Worship. We must worship regularly. Worship is a time when we are focused on the glory and majesty of God. Worship is expressed many different ways. We worship by singing, shouting, crying, silence, clapping, jumping, dancing and even more. All these ways have one thing in common: awe. We should all worship together every week. We should all worship privately every day.
Prayer. We need to ask God to help us keep our minds fixed on things above. Conversation with God will strengthen our focus on the heavenly kingdom.
Bible Reading. Our time in God’s words orients our thinking to kingdom values, purposes and priorities. As we allow God’s truth to permeate our lives, we begin to act according to those values, purposes and priorities. The more time we spend in God’s Word the more quickly our thinking changes.
Meditation. This is so closely related to prayer and Bible reading. It is taking the time to think about a passage of scripture, asking God to strongly impress it in our minds and hearts. It is a continual review of God’s truth so that it forms the way we think.
Listening. Listening for God’s voice in prayer, worship, meditation and Bible reading helps us stay strongly focused on things above.
Obedience. The kingdom of heaven is on earth! We have things to do. When we focus on God — on things above — we begin to embrace his mission in the world. We hear his call on our lives and do the things he wants us to do. This brings us to the horizontal component of the vertical life.
What Does the Mindset on Things Above Look Like?
How does the vertical life play out in our world? What does our mindset on things above look like every day? What is this lifestyle of following? Here are a few of the components on the life of a follower.
Evangelism. Telling people the good news about Jesus and abundant eternal life! Our lives as followers of Jesus look different. When we are doing what God wants us to do all the time, we have to tell others about it. Simply sharing our story and the difference Jesus is making in our lives is sharing good news.
Discipleship. Helping people follow Jesus. We can help people follow Jesus in many different ways: we can read the Bible together, we can invite them to join us in a Bible Study or Sunday School class, we can become a teacher and teach the word to people, we can even do something as simple as pass the blog post along to someone else.
Fellowship. Building strong relationships with other Jesus followers. Being in fellowship with other followers of Jesus makes us stronger. Since I began this blog, I have joined several writers groups, which has made me a better writer. When you just spend time with other believers it makes following Jesus more natural and encouraging.
Service. Sharing the love of Jesus with people everywhere through acts of kindness. Jesus went around giving himself in service to others — with no strings attached! This sort of thing should be part of our lives!
What If We Ignore This?
When we try to follow Jesus without a mindset on things above, it becomes even harder. Here’s what we can expect:
Frustration. We cannot be fulfilled in our lives apart from having peace with God found in living this life for him. Every effort to fill the void with other activities is useless.
Deception. We’re not really following Jesus. If we are focused on earthly things, giving an hour or so to go to church on Sunday, we are only fooling ourselves and a few others.
Self-centeredness. We live for self. If we aren’t keeping our mindset fixed on things above, we are living for ourselves!
What Should You Do Today?
Right now! Make a strong commitment to renew your mindset to heavenly things. Commit to activities which reinforce this decision.
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