Where is your focus?
Based on teaching by Dan Roseman
Where is your focus these days? We tend to pay attention to the things in life that make the most noise; and there are plenty of really “loud” things in life. In Colossians 3, the Apostle Paul tells us to set our hearts and minds, not on things that are “loud”, but rather on “things above.” (vv.1-2) He tells us to “let the message of Christ dwell among you richly”. So how do we do that? In this text, Paul gives us: Three Ways to Live for Christ (Colossians 3:1-17)
Paul opens this text with a very important phrase… Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, Colossians 3:1a. We may tend to skip over this phrase, but it matters that we have been “raised with Christ.” Paul spent the first two chapters in this letter reminding us of Who God is and what He has done for us; and that there is nothing more needed. Now, as a result of Christ’s “completed work”, the question is: How do we respond?
1. Change My Focus. (Colossians 3:1-4)
… set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Col. 3:1b-2a)
Where is your focus these days? Most of us naturally focus on the “here and now”, our daily endeavors, which makes sense. But the danger for us is that we can be so consumed by what is going around us that we lose focus on Christ. So what can we do? Shift or change our focus to recognize that God is present in all that we do… yes, even in changing a diaper, wrenching a pipe, completing a sales proposal, or developing a lesson plan! (Matt.13:22)
Later Paul says, 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Col.3:17).
2. Kill My Sin. (Colossians 3:5-11)
Sometimes it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to manage sin instead of killing it. But Paul tells us to put sin to death. That doesn’t sound anything like managing it! A lot of folks are reseeding lawns this time of year to try to have beautiful lawns next Spring. But as long as we have weeds in the yard, it is hard to make it look amazing. We can try to hide the weeds by adding more fescue or by mowing the weeds level with the fescue; but the weeds are still there. To have a really nice lawn, the weeds must be killed and then replaced with fescue.
Paul tells us to put to death or get rid of two kinds of sins… the sins of wanting “more and more”, including sexual sins and the sins that destroy relationships. These are behaviors that can entangle us (Heb. 12:1); but as Christ-Followers, we are striving to be more like Him. Theologian, D.A. Carson calls this “grace-driven effort.” We are saved by grace, but as Believers, we are “driven” to be more like Christ every day! We don’t put these sins to death in order to be saved; we put them to death because we are saved! Are there sins in your life that need to be put to death?
3. Check My Demeanor. (Colossians 3:12-17)
In this passage, Paul makes clear that we are to live in a way that is consistent with our new identify in Christ…
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:12-17
I am so thankful to be a part of a church family that reflects what we are called to as Believers! Watermark is filled with so many who are committed to letting “the message of Christ dwell among us.” In this way, we absolutely will make an impression and leave a mark for Jesus Christ!
For much more, click here to listen to an outstanding message from guest speaker Dan Roseman, Steadfast: Part 7 - Three Ways to Live for Christ.