Colossians 3. The reason Christians pursue a godly life is not because we are trying to be something we’re not but rather because of who God has made us. The pursuit of godliness is a pursuit of understanding who we are and then living out this reality. This is what sets the Christian life apart from all religions. Religion says ‘do this and live this way and you will become acceptable to God.’ The Gospel says ‘through Christ ,God has accepted you and transformed you into a new, holy, person.’ This is why, before the apostle Paul calls on Christians to pursue godliness, he first reminds us who we are. He does this in everyone of his letters.
Colossians 3 is the beginning of Paul’s application of the gospel and implications of who we are in Christ. Significantly, he starts by setting our hearts and minds on Christ, verse 1ff (Paraphrase) ‘Set your hearts on things above where Christ is and set your minds on things above not on earthly things.’ The reason he calls on us to do this is so that we will behold Christ and grow in our understanding of who God has created us to be in Christ. As we gaze at Christ, like looking into a mirror, we will grow and our lives will be transformed in the likeness of Christ. As we gaze and behold Him we’ll be reminded that we are, verse 12 ‘God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved’, which will remind us of how we are to put on the godly life. To be like Jesus – compassionate, patient, kind, forgiving, loving and be able to bear with one another. But it will also convict us deeply of the things that do not belong to the new nature we have and so we will put off the earthly nature – impurity, lust, evil, greed and idolatry. This is why we are to set our hearts and minds on Jesus and not the things of this world.
This reality should move us and remind us of the importance of keeping our lives focused on Christ. Gazing deeply into the scriptures, which reveal Him, thinking deeply of what He has done for us and in doing this, pursuing and practicing what we are created to be. More than this, to rejoice that our lives are hidden in Christ. He is our life and with Him we will enjoy eternity in God’s presence, where we belong.
Lord, forgive us for gazing on the world that only spurs on the sinful and old nature. Give us, by Your Spirit, a renewed vigor in gazing at Christ in all His beauty. Transform us and give us a joy to live as You created us to be, to Your glory alone. In Christ we pray, Amen.