This past Sunday, Northstar had the privilege of hosting Tim Hartin, who is the area director for YoungLife in the NRV. Tim started out his message encouraging us to become men and women of God’s word and to keep our eyes on Jesus. We studied Tim’s favorite passage, Colossians 3:1-4.
“So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you will also appear with him in glory.”
The first part of verse one states a truth about who we are as believers in Jesus. It is reminding us that we have been raised with Christ. His resurrection is our resurrection. The second part of verse one and all of verse two tell us that, in light of who we are, we are to seek the things above and set our minds on those things and not earthly things. Tim referenced the movie A Christmas Story as an example of setting your heart on something. When Ralphie wanted the Red Ryder Carbine Action 200 shot range air rifle, he talked about it all the time. He daydreamed about it all the time. He wrote an essay at school about it. He begged his parents for one. And while this example is focused on an earthly possession, it does paint a picture for us of what it looks like when we set our minds on something.
So, if we are to set our minds on things above, we need to know what above is, right? Above is Jesus, who is seated at the right hand of God. When God created us, he created us to be focused on Christ. God knows that whatever we set our hearts and minds on, will also get our worship. He also knows that Jesus is the only thing worthy of our worship. He knows that a wedding, a person, a child, a job, a sports team, a pet, and even a Red Ryder BB Gun will fail to fill the void He created within us. Only Jesus can do that.
Tim also pointed out the symbolism of Jesus being seated. He wasn’t seated because he was lazy, or tired, or injured. He was seated because His work was done. What He did on the cross was a once-and-for-all sacrifice (Hebrews 1:1-4). Because Jesus’ work is done, we can look to Him. We can set our eyes on Him. We can set our hearts on Him. We can set our minds on Him. There is no more striving, no more earning. There is only accepting and living in the reality of what Christ did and accepting it as a free gift.
Tim challenged us because often times we are tempted to take verses like this and turn them into a checklist. We believe that if we are good people, check these things off our to do list, and do what is right, we will be accepted by God. However, as Tim graciously reminded us, the gospel totally contradicts that. Because of what Jesus did, we are accepted by God and therefore are able to serve and do what it right. Because of what Jesus did, our identity changes. We are a resurrected people who are able to walk around with hope. We get to choose what are hearts are set on!
Here are some questions he gave us for reflection:
- Is this who you really are?
- Where is your heart and mind set? What do you daydream about?
- What would it look like for you to make simple small decisions that say “Jesus I believe you are who you say you are”?