The above quote is part of the first verse of Colossians 3. And then it adds to “set your minds on things above” as well. This new focus should be as the result of our being “raised with Christ.” This was brought to my attention this morning in a post by Graham Cooke.
Of course “things above” are not where my heart and mind reside 99% of the time. The world, its woes and my flesh constantly draw me earthward and the devil reliably points the way.
I do not know precisely what Paul means when he speaks of heart and mind, but I tend to think of the heart as the dwelling place of the spirit or soul—and the mind as the site of logic and of intentionality. We need both.
We need to use our God-given intellect as best we can—and as Paul points out that should be focused on higher things. And we need to have our hearts enlivened by the Holy Spirit. We need to put on a “new self” infused with “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
We cannot will our old nature, our old self, away and out of our lives. Like a zombie it just keeps coming back—walking into us moaning, reeking and reminding us. We can best rid ourselves of the “anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language” of our old self by replacing it with a new nature and we accomplish that best by setting our thoughts on things above—Paul’s renewing of the mind from Romans 12:2.
It’s been said that nature abhors a vacuum and we know from scripture that demons are all too willing to return to a home swept clean (Luke 11:24-26). And so we need to fill the empty space in our hearts and minds by focusing on “things above”—constantly putting on our new raised-with-Christ Holy Spirit activated self. It’s like looking in the mirror and washing our face each morning. Just do it! Turn off the TV, think on things right, admirable, lovely and praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8), defeat your inner zombie-nature, transform the old you and set your hearts and minds on things above.