Continuing from my previous post, I would like to dedicate this and the next couple of posts to examining the practicalities of becoming like Christ as taught in the Scriptures particularly in Colossians 3:1-17. In this section of Scripture, the Apostle Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, clearly lays out for us what being like Christ looks like in real day-to-day living. We will do well to consider his advice and pray for grace to lay it upon our hearts and practice these things in our lives to the glory of our God and Savior through Jesus Christ.
If You Want to Become Like Christ, “Set Your Minds on Things Above”:
The Apostle Paul calls us to do this by reminding us of our identity with and in Christ. He first reminds us that we have been raised with Christ. Consequently, we are to set our hearts on things above, where the Lord Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father (Col. 3:1). In verse 2, he repeats himself to emphasize his point, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” How appropriate is his advice! All of us know that most of our battles against sin are either lost or won in the mind. The mind is the battleground where most of our spiritual battles are fought. Those who are wise and whose consciences have been awakened by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit will do everything in their power and by the grace of God to guard their minds from all impurities for this is not only vital to our becoming like Christ but it is also a large part of what it means to love the Lord our God with our minds. Another (logical) part of our identity with Christ is that we have died with Him. It cannot be said of us that we have been raised with Him if that does not also mean that we have died with Him in the first place. That would be illogical! Thus, the Apostle points this out to us as a matter of fact in verse 3, “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
Then he (Paul, the Apostle) gives us some encouragement and motivation with respect to this matter of setting our minds on things above in verse 4 where he writes, “When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” His advice here is very similar to what we read in 1 John 3:2-3:
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who has this hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.”
Or what we find in Hebrews 12:14, “…without holiness, no one will see the Lord.”
Or more positively, in the words of our Lord and Savior Himself as recorded for us in Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
So, what do we do? We need to pray for the Lord’s help. We need to have our minds renewed in the knowledge of Christ by the very Word of God Himself (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:23). We must saturate our minds with the Word of God which alone is able to cleanse our hearts and minds by the power of Christ’s blood shed on the cross of Calvary for our sins.
Without the cross of Calvary and without the help from on high by the Spirit of God, any quest towards Christlikeness will only prove to be a miserably failure.
But the call remains. If we would be like Christ, we must set our minds on things above even as He did while here on earth. It’s possible because we have died and our lives are hidden with Christ in God. As the Apostle Paul put it so well in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Tomorrow, Lord willing, we will consider the next part of that it means to become like Christ from Colossians 1:1-17.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9