If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. Colossians 3:1-10
Have you ever just had a day that kicked your butt? I am sure most everyone responded with some variation of, “Preach!” just now. It is certainly okay to have this thought. One of the challenging aspects of life is it can simply be tough without any reason. Those are the days which seem to wear us down more than usual because we did not do anything to make it worse, so we truly have no control over it.
I definitely used to struggle with those days, and even though I am a thriving 25-year-old, I have already had my fair share of those days. I am one of the most care-free and optimistic guys you will ever meet and still some days are just stinking tough!
One way I have learned to combat these tough days is to simply look up. I can recall the first moment I was given the advice to just, “look up.” I was spending my summer in Alaska doing a mission trip. One day as we just finished doing manly activities such as wood chopping we sat on the porch of the house we were staying out and just looked out. We were staying along Lake Clark in Port Alsworth, and on the other side of the lake were mountain ranges. The man who owned the house told us, “When things seem to be getting me down I just look up.” Considering he had snowy capped mountains to see every day I get why he would say that. Yet, it was such a simple nugget of wisdom, but it changed the way I approach bad days.
I think Paul must have heard some advice similar to this as well as he begins to write to the people of Colossae. It is truly a simple practice for us. Paul tells people to look up because it is a reminder to look to Christ. Paul tells us to set our mind on the things above, which are things of God, rather than the things below, which are things of this world.
It is fair to say if we are not looking up we are probably looking straight, or even looking down. I will not judge the weight of your head, but I would guess most of us have a tendency to default to looking down. Gravity already holds us down, but the world tries to push us down even further. When we spend too much time looking down or straight we see all the earthly things Paul mentions in these verses: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desires, covetousness, anger, wrath, malice, slander, obscene talk, oh my!
We can barely make it out of the door of our houses without seeing at least one of these on display on our phones or in neighborhoods. And these things wear us down because our souls are not meant to experience them. As people made in the image of our Father when we constantly have our eyes set on these things they do something to us. They wear us down and try to keep us on focusing on Who truly matters.
But Paul tells us simply to look up.
Look up to Christ who has raised us up with Him.
Look up to Him who died to give you unconditional and perfect love.
Look up to Him who is sovereign and remember nothing can happen to you without first going through God.
Look up to Him who calls you His child.
Look up to Him who is proud of you because of who you are, and not what you do.
Look up to Him and see the life He has for you.
It is easy to look at this world and be overwhelmed. For me, I know I have always been told to keep my eyes on the prize, and I believe this happens by looking up to Jesus. Thankfully, we have Someone we can behold and be captivated by. Just a glimpse of Jesus can change everything, how much can change when we are fixed upon Him. As one of my favorite authors Bob Goff said, “Fix your eyes; it’s okay to stare.”
Think about the list of worldly things Paul wrote, which one of those do you feel as though you see the most? What does seeing those things constantly do to you? How do they make you feel?
How much smaller does the influence of worldly things become when Jesus is your focus?
Father, You are truly beautiful. I am thankful I get to look to You and see love and mercy. As I am consumed by the worldly things I feel discouraged, but when my eyes are fixed upon You, I am rescued and delivered. Help me fix my eyes upon You and just simply look up when I feel my world going crazy. Thank You for just being You, and I pray in Your name, Amen.
PC3 writer Davy Nance wrote today’s devotional.