Saturday, January 14, 2006

What Really Lasts?

"If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory" (Col 3:1-4).

That's a big IF at the beginning of Colossians 3. IF you were indeed raised with Christ then seek the things above. Set your minds on things above, NOT on earthly things. Is your life really hidden with Christ in God? If so, what will we be DOING here on earth? If our minds are set on things above, what will our "earthly" relationships be like? What will be the point of our lives? WHY will we be living? WHY will we "get together" with other people? There's more than one way to answer these questions, but here's what Paul said:

Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily (Col 1:28-29).

Paul lived for Christ. "For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain." He labored and struggled mightily so that people could stand before God blameless. He wanted his life to count. When he got to the heavenly kingdom he wanted other people to be there because of his work (actually God working through him). This is one type of fruit that lasts.

Paul was not the only one who was supposed to live this way. Aren't we also? We may not be traveling by boat all over Asia and the Middle East like Paul, but we can have that mindset in whatever calling the Lord has us. We can be like Epaphras, "always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God" (Col 4:12). As Paul said, "Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me..." (Rom 15:30). Isn't this part of what it means to be a living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1), that we CARE and help others to know Christ? And with others who already know Christ that we labor fervently, with much effort, to do whatever we can to help them know him better?

These things are not just for "the pastor" to do. No, EACH one MUST be laboring to present each other "perfect in Christ". If that's not our mindset, then we need to set our minds on things above; we need to TURN our minds (repent) from earthly things to heavenly things. Stop letting pointless, fruitless earthly things get in the way of a lasting, heavenly calling.

"From him the WHOLE body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as EACH part does its work" (Eph 4:16).

Indeed, there is much work, but not enough are willing to be laborers.

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