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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. (Colossians 3:1-2 ESV)

Ancient Egypt has always fascinated me. From the pyramids and the powerful pharaohs of old to the Biblical Exodus, the history is rich and interesting. I must admit that I love history and archeology, and Egypt is the source of much study. Since Egyptology is a thing, I guess I’m not the only person who thinks it is an interesting subject!

One documented practice of Egypt’s powerful pharaohs still fascinates me. Upon their death, the pharaohs were buried in massive tombs that were often loaded with worldly possessions. The thought process of the Egyptians was that the pharaohs would need all the worldly things in the afterlife. The richer and more powerful the pharaoh, the more stuff you’d find in the tomb. A quick Google search reveals that one of the most easily identifiable pharaohs, King Tut, had a tomb filled with everything from chariots to weapons, clothing, jewelry, and so on.

Imagine… a dead person, surrounded by priceless possessions, all with the ignorant belief that they would somehow need those things for the afterlife. In case you are wondering, you can’t take anything with you from this life into the next except your faith. Job is recorded as proclaiming it this way: And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” (Job 1:21 ESV) Although most of us aren’t ignorant enough to believe we can take our stuff from this world into the next, you might not be able to tell that from the way we live our lives.

Power, possessions, prestige, pleasure, plenty, it seems that for some this life is an endless pursuit to collect more and more. People work long, hard hours and sacrifice relationships, friendships, and time, all in an effort to finally “arrive.” Like King Tut, many of us are on a pursuit for more, as if we could somehow take it into the next life. I would challenge you to pause today and ask yourself: am I seeking things that are above or things that are on earth?

Before I proceed, I want to pause. There is a very wrong school of thought that teaches those who are wealthy are evil. Wealth is not the problem; a love of wealth is the problem. When the things you own end up owning you, an idol has been born in your life. People do all sorts of evil things to gain and keep power, wealth, and prestige. Jesus says it this way: No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. (Mark 6:24 ESV) So having money is not wrong, but loving and serving money is the root of all sorts of evil (see 1 Timothy 6:10).

With that settled, let’s focus back on today’s focal Scripture. Paul makes an “if then” statement that I recognize clearly as a programmer. Think of this as a “cause and affect” relationship. If this is true, then this should also be true. Paul says, if you have been raised with Christ (the cause), then you should seek the things that are above (affect). Why is it that we should seek the “things that are above?” Because that is where Christ is.

Setting our mind on the things that are above implies that we are thinking about those things. I might say it like this, we are thinking with an eternal perspective, not a temporary one. Unlike the pharaohs of old, we aren’t worried about what we are taking with us into the afterlife, but who. Because we know that our worldly possessions are temporary, we are going to fix our eyes on what (or Who) is eternal.
When we get so caught up in the “things that are on earth”, we lose sight of what really matters. When we make life all about us, our pleasure, our comfort, our needs, instead of about Christ and leading others to Him, we aren’t seeking the “things that are above.”

Why am I even including this in a devotion about returning to God? Its hard to seek God when we are so caught up in all the things of this world. So many of us lie to ourselves and say something like this, “I’ll make time for God once I get that big promotion.” The promotion comes and goes, and we are off chasing the next measure of success. Some of us say something like this, “I need to get my life straightened out, then I’ll serve God.” The truth is, no matter how “straight’ we get our lives, without Christ it will never be enough.

Let me end with this question… are you a true follower of Jesus? If the answer is yes, you have been raised with Christ and you should seek God’s will. It isn’t about our kingdom, wealth, prosperity, or pleasure but about seeing God’s will done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10). I’ll leave you today with a little challenge to see if you are seeking the things that are above or the things of the earth. Think about your life and these questions:

• What or where are you spending the most time on consistently?
• What or who do you think about most on a regular basis?
• Where are you spending your money and talents?
• Are you more concerned with God’s kingdom or your own comfort and prosperity?

If your answers are more “me” focused than Christ focused, you may want to stop and prayerfully consider if you are seeking the things that are above or things that are on earth.

Father, I confess that my mind is not always fixed on the right things. Lord, I confess that I need you to teach me how to fix my mind on eternal things. Jesus, please help me stop getting so fixated on temporary things with no eternal importance. Instead of focusing on my own prosperity and pleasure, help me seek Your will for my life. Help me seek those things that matter most as I seek to see Your will done. Holy Spirit, please help me see the areas of my life that I need to surrender over to you. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

Categories: Devotion