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Colossians 3:1-17

INTRODUCTION

The XXXI Olympics Games in Rio, Brazil are coming to an end and for two weeks we have been treated to magnificent performances by the best athletes, sportsmen/women from all over the globe.

Listening to BBC commentary and interviews with winners and participants of the games, one thing is clear, for one to perform competitively at a global level they have to be very focused individuals. They are thoroughly disciplined, training for many hours a day, missing out on family events like weddings and parties because they have an Olympic Gold in mind.

The ability to gain and retain focus is very significant in every area of life.   Ask a student, a business person, an athlete, a parent, a politicians, a thief e.t.c. The object of our focus may be good, positive, useful, worthwhile or wrong, bad, corrupt, evil. Whatever our object is, focus is significant in achieving our objectives/goals.

Focus is very important in spiritual life. It is key in our walk of faith. If we intend to live God-centric, Christ glorifying lives, then it is important to orient our focus, align our attention and calibrate our faith in line with this objective. Anything less won’t do.

Just like I need my spectacles to focus in order to live a functional and productive life, I believe our faith needs a biblical focus if it has to be functional and productive leading to Christlikeness.

Lack of a proper biblical focus will lead us into error, spiritual paralysis or wrong doctrine, flawed application leading to false Christianity.

Paul by the unction of the Holy Spirit is helping Colossians believer to gain proper biblical perspective, an accurate focus so that they can in turn, overcome sin, flesh and worldly lures and live Christ-like lives that glorifying God.  

THE TRANSFORMATION

Paul begins by calling into account their transformation in verse 1 ‘Since, then, you have been raised with Christ’ and verse 3 & 4 “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is yourlife, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory”. What follows our transformation? What is the logical, spiritual and psychological recourse for one who is born again?

Being raised with Christ means that we have been crucified with Him in our sin, dead in our spiritual iniquity, buried in our transgression and raised in a new transformed life that is characterized by Christ living in us to God’s glory. Galatians 2:20.

The power of the true gospel is the transformation of a sin-infested dead soul subject to God’s wrath into a life-abundant, joyful Christ-filled soul that is reconciled to God as His child by right (john 1:12). As a result of transformation we are now God’s chosen people (we did not choose Him, our salvation is not our idea but He chose us to go and bear fruit John 15:16), holy (set up consecrated for His glory) and dearly loved by Him (His precious, valued possession) (12).

So, what happens after this? What follows transformation?

THE FOCUS  

Paul goes on to state with no uncertain terms the focus of the transformed follower of Christ. This is very important because it will determine how he/she lives out the transformed life. It is twofold;

  1. Set your hearts on things above – our focus as believers, follower of Christ must be on the celestial, on thing above. Not just on things above, (astronomers and astrologers have set their heart on thing above too) but on Christ, the resurrected victorious, all conquering, enthroned and glorified Christ!

Our heart, our love, our affections, our fondness, spiritual and emotionally attachment must be invested in Christ. We must be enthralled by Him. We must value Him more than all else put together (Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’Matthew 22:37)

Of course this does not mean we ignore the physical life, earth, people, things, systems e.t.c. It mean that even as we deal with everyday life and we relate to the physical world around us, we do it with an eternal conscience, in light of who Christ is, what He has done and what He means to us. All our other relationships (marital, family, religious, professional, civil, social, creational, material, psychological) and interactions are governed, reckoned and must reconcile with the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

After my transformation He, Christ is now my Alpha-Relationship. All others are subject to this.

  1. Set your minds on things above – our mind, intellect, thought-life needs to focus, pay attention on and value things of eternal values/significance at the expense of the material and earthly.

Paul writing elsewhere to the Corinthians, the second letter chapter 4 verse 18 states that what is visible (earthly, material) is temporal but what is invisible (celestial, spiritual) is eternal. Thus the necessity of focusing on, paying attention to and valuing the invisible over the visible.

The Bible is calling us to a major life adjustment. We are no longer to focus on ourselves, our needs, our issues, our happiness, our righteousness e.t.c. as is the natural way of sinful human. We are called to SET or fix, train and stay our heart and mind on things above, on glorified Christ. We are not our own. We have been bought at a price.

This requires a conscious decision, discipline and determination even as His grace is available to help us and Holy Spirit powers us along. It’s the only way for the transformed believer to live and thrive in his/her faith in Christ.

With our hearts and mind set on Christ, then we will be in a position to;

a)         Overcome the sinful nature (5-9)

When we focus on Christ then we will be able deal with the flesh/sinful nature. We are able to put to death, mercilessly rout sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language, lies.

We are able to identify them in our lives, as soon as they rare their dark ugliness we deal with them decisively and with finality because we understand, through Christ suffering and death that they are the primary attracters of God wrath. Sin will kills us unless we kill it first.

When we focus on glorified Christ above, we understand that we are no longer lost in sin and separation from God. We are no longer the people we used to be. We are no longer sons of darkness. We are a new creation. The old with its sinful corrupt and debasing habits is gone 2 Corinthians 5:17. We cannot continue to live like we did in habitual insurrection against God. It will not work.

Genuine transformation is accompanied by a change in our character, lifestyle and actions and every time we keep our eyes on Him, our precious savior, we are reminded of this. When we take our eyes off Him, we most certainly forget and like the proverbial pig we go back to wallowing in the mud or like a dog back to its vomit. 2 Peter 2:22.

b)        Don a New self

Our focus on Him enable us to not only admire, love and cherish Him but to don Him. We are able to wear the new image, one that is free of the taint of sin, one that is incorruptible and is constantly being upgraded in the image of its creator-CHRIST. The more we focus on Christ the more we become christlike.

The new-self is not prejudicial or bigoted in any way. In Christ we acquire a brand new identity that has nothing to do with our previous self. There is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Grace deals with the shame of our previous self and integrates us into a whole new identity where we don the imputed righteousness of Christ which in turn transforms us into courtiers of God’s throne room. We can now approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16.

As we continue to focus on Him, Christ becomes our identity and we become more like Him. Everything that negated us from God presence our un-circumcision, gentileness, barbarianism, Scythianism (warlords) and slavery is nullified in Christ. Everything that qualified us Jewishness, circumcision, free men is nullified in Christ and we stand only on His merit

New self means new lifestyle, new God-glorifying living, new habits and God-honouring acts like compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with one another, forgiveness all done out of love.

We show compassion, kindness, humility forgiveness e.t.c not because we must otherwise we will be thrown to hell if we don’t but because the love of Christ compels us. We can’t help but be like Him as we look to Him.

c)         Allow thorough holy influence over our lives (15-17)

As we focus on Christ, it becomes easier for us to allow His total and absolute rule, His influence over all areas of our lives. We cease to resist Him and we let Him have His way with us. We became the virgin bride who has full and complete trust and confidence on her groom. We don’t resist Him. We don’t fight Him. We don’t hide when we hear His footstep in the cool of the day. We know our best interest and pure happiness is carried in His will for us.

We let His peace (not ours or UN’s) rule in our heart. We live a life of gratitude. We allow His word, His Gospel, His message to dwell richly amongst us. We desire and crave for His true word like a newborn baby desires the mother’s milk 1 Peter 2:2. We do not exchange His word for anything. We value the true gospel message of Christ, we propagate it with words, songs, hymns. We teach and admonish one another using His word. We don’t exchange it for the new fad, for what is exciting or what is seem to be acceptable or palatable to our fallen nature. We embrace His word, we love it, we cherish it, we honour it, we propagate it, we live it we love it. We let it thoroughly influence our lives, behavior, choices, worldview, spending habits, courting habit, marriage life, raising of children, relationship, careers, political view, social engagement, culture, traditions, when we lack, when we have abundance, when we are sick, when we are healthy e.t.c. LET HIS WORD DWELL AMONGST US RICHLY.

It is an indictment to our faith when the message/word of men, the message/word of our denomination, the message/word of life coaches, the messages/word of politicians, the messages/word of our favourite celebrities etc dwell in us richly taking the place of the word of Christ in our lives. Our libraries reflects whose message/word we are rich in/with. My prayer and desire is that it will be that of Christ.

The influence of Christ needs to be evidence in everything we do. Our deed ought to have a Christ touch. Our words ought to have Christ tone in them.

CONCLUSION

Our focus on Christ is key in living a victorious Christian life. How do you focus on Him? Prayers is a wonderful place to start. Reading His word, meditating and obeying His word. Availing self to planned fellowship, prayer meetings Bible study and Sunday service. Engaging self in works of service in obedience to His Word.

Let us take time to repent where our hearts and minds have been on earthly things instead of thing above and pray for the help of the Holy Spirit to SET OUR HEART AND MIND on thing above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.