“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.” (Colossians 3:1-3).
The lectionary readings for this week enjoin us with godly wisdom through the words of Solomon, Jesus and Paul to forsake the ways of the world. We would be wise to become aware of those ways for our contemporary society persuades us to accept them as good. We have been seduced by Satan and his demonic hosts into compromising and ignoring God’s Word through various means: academia, politics and, most especially, through the media, TV, books, films, ads, and the Internet. Satan’s message is presented so constantly and subtly that we Christians have a tough time sorting out truth from lie, righteousness from sin. And we fall.
Paul in his words to the believers at Colossi offered words of wisdom to help us all grow into the image of Christ, into spiritual maturity. We must keep our eyes in Jesus, not on the allurements and false promises of joy that the world offers through mystical secrets or sensual experiences. We are called to put off that wrong way of living and thinking for we have died to sin and become new creatures in Christ. Our Baptism marks and proclaims our entry into the Kingdom of God which comes only by death to self. This death must take its effect over every aspect of our life with its passions, lusts, and selfish desires. This takes time and the disciplined work of the Holy Spirit to accomplish as He enables and motivates us to set aside the world and it sinful ways and put on the ways of the Kingdom of God.
We are to focus on being tender-hearted and kind toward all people. We to forgive always even as we have been forgiven. We are not to seek our own agenda, but that of the Kingdom of God. This may disturb us because it will mean we will have to sacrifice and forgo the treasures and allurements of the world in favor of loving our neighbor and helping those in need. It also means we will have to quietly accept abuse, scorn, and reproach from our fellow human beings. The faithful Christian rejoices in the midst of such a world as he realizes that his sense of worth and identity comes not from the ideas and ideals of men nor from the lies of Satan, but from the Word of Almighty God in Christ Jesus.