“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 mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (Col. 3:1-2). A similar thought is found in Rom. 8:5, “Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the flesh; but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.” A Christian who has been raised with Christ cannot hold on to the things of the world and still claim to be a son or daughter of God. Not all the things of the world are evil, but the devil will try to use all of them to draw your attention away from God. When you see a person you desire to be with, it leads to love and marriage. Obviously, there is nothing wrong with that…it is a natural part of life.
But, when you are already in a committed relationship, desiring someone else is not a good thing. That kind of desire leads to adultery if you or they are married or dishonesty if you are in a dating relationship. Another example is money. There is nothing inherently wrong with seeking money to live comfortably. That is why you go to college, university, or take an apprenticeship. You want to provide for your family, so instead of being evil, that is honorable. However, when the drive to earn money becomes an obsession, and you put it in front of your spiritual life, it leads to all sorts of evil. 1 Tim. 6:9-11, “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.”
Clearly, we see that there are many good things that the devil can use to distract you from your mission to be an honorable, dedicated Christian. Too often, we allow our desires to turn into obsessions and, in doing so, dishonor ourselves with our words and actions. For those who struggle to decide what is good and evil, a good rule of thumb is this; if it is self-centered, self-seeking, and spiritually destructive, it is bad – even if it began as a good thing. Rom. 1 and Gal. 5:19-21 lists some of the things that we should strive to put off, and Col. 3:5 describes the categories of earthly things we should rid ourselves of: “Put to death what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” By contrast, what we should set our minds on is given to us in Col. 3:12, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…”. Is it easy to do that? Of course not. Nothing worthwhile ever is, but the reward for being a diligent, obedient child of God far outweighs the “sacrifice” of leaving the things of the world behind. Let me ask three questions of you. How many Christians do you know that try to live Col. 3:1-2 and Col. 3:12? Do you? Put off the things of the world immediately and strive to do good in all things. The reward far outweighs the sacrifice.