Colossians 3:2, “2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
Here we are at the end of August, and quickly approaching September. Yesterday morning when I went outside to get in my vehicle I noticed something very unusual for August in the Mid-South area. The weather was cool with a slight breeze. It felt GREAT! Again, this was unusual weather for our area this time of year, but it felt like autumn which is my favorite time of year.
Autumn is my favorite time of year for many reasons, but one of those reasons is that I love to deer hunt. I love other types of hunting, but hunting deer is one of those hobbies that I really enjoy. Every year there are certain things that have to be done before going deer hunting for the first time of the season, and some of those things have to be repeated each time I go hunting. One of the things that ALWAYS has to be done every time I get in my deer stand is that I have to check the focus on my scope. The focus on my rifle scope is a major factor in whether a hunt will be a success or a failure. If the focus is set right then it’s more likely that my shot will be right on target where I need it to be. If the scope is not focused correctly, I may shoot to high, too low, or even to the side of my target. However, it’s not just about where I shoot, but it’s about being able to view my target with clarity. I believe that being able to keep your eye on the target with a clear view is so important for the hunt, but it’s even vastly more important when we’re talking about our journey in this life with Jesus Christ our Lord.
Paul writes in Colossians 3:2, “Set your minds on things above, not earthly things.” As a way to charge us ( Christ followers ) to make sure our focus is right. There are so many points that can be brought out about this verse, but I would like to draw your attention to three things today.
You see, when we set our minds and affections on things above it changes everything. It changes our past, our present, and our future focus. Our focus becomes clear and we are able to see as God desires us to see, and have vision for what God is calling us to do.
#1. The right focus changes yesterday for you and me. It’s easy for us to become slaves to our failures of yesterday which can hinder our growth today. Maybe there was a sin you have struggled with and yesterday you stumbled with that sin. Maybe last week was a really bad week for you socially and because of what went on depression has crept in. Maybe the other day you were unkind to someone and it’s been eating at you every since. Maybe there’s something in your life that only God and yourself know you’re hanging on to but you need to let it go. ( And you know it ). The truth is God’s word tells us in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”. But if you’re focus is not right you are going to miss the blessing and the peace that a verse like 1 John 1:9 brings to the follower of Christ. When our focus is right we don’t become slaves to yesterdays failures.
#2. The right focus changes today for you and me. Every new day we are given an opportunity to remain on this earth is an opportunity to live and serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The truth is though, how much of our day is spent doing that? I know, you have to go to work right? Of course, but when is the last time you showed Christ to your co-workers? When is the last time you got off work, picked up the rest of your family and did a local ministry in your own community? You see, when our focus is clear we begin to see that each day is 24 hours long, minus responsibilities that we have, plus opportunities within those responsibilities to live for Christ and show His love. However, if our focus is fuzzy we’re likely to do what Paul said not to do and have our focus on earthly things: troubles, heartaches, bills, stresses, sports and the list goes on. Don’t get me wrong please. Those things are not all bad in themselves, but we miss Gospel centered opportunities when our focus is not right. We miss seeing Jesus in the middle of the work day if our focus isn’t clear. Today has many opportunities for us spiritually speaking if our focus is right.
#3. The right focus changes tomorrow for you and me. When our focus is right we are going to set our affections and love on things above, and not on this earth. That changes everything about tomorrow and the days ahead. A great example is to just look around us at the world we are living in. If you listen to the news, read the papers, or scroll online it will not take you long to find a whole lot of bad things going on around the world. You will find it in our country too. If our focus is not clear it will be easy for us to get down on the future to the point where we begin to think there is no hope. For the Christian there is always hope! There is always a far better outlook than what we see in this world. The Christ follower has a future home in Heaven with Jesus. The Christ follower has a new body to look forward to. That body will not hold any sickness, or have any defects which will hinder him/her in any way. The believer has yet to experience the very best riches and inheritance that God has for him/her. In other words, we can say without hesitation that God has saved the best for last for those who know Christ. To have this outlook, and to know this will change everything about how you view tomorrow. It should also change how you live today.
Focus is more important that we realize. Can you see where you have been, where you are, and where you are going? Driving down an old country road on a foggy night is a lot more difficult than driving the same road on a sunny clear day. Living in victory is much easier when you are focused on what God has done, what God is doing, what God has waiting. So, get some spiritual Visine from the word of God and set your mind and affections on things ABOVE.