In this family...
At some point in our lives, I think we’ve all had our parents tell us “If you’re part of this family, then you’ll…<insert particular actions, thoughts, or words>”. And now as a parent, I’ve said it, too. When I use the word “If” in these kinds of statements, my boys know that I’m not questioning if they are truly my children. Instead, I’m implying that they know they are part of the family, and since they are, then a particular course is expected of them.
Throughout his letter to the Colossians, it is abundantly clear that Paul is writing to believers.
1:2 To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ in Colossae
1:13 [the Father] has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves
2:12 ...you were also raised with Him through faith in the working of God
2:13 And when you were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive with Him
However, even though they were in the family, the Colossians still needed help understanding how relationships worked inside God’s family. In some ways, they were still acting and thinking like they had before they entered into God’s family.
After affirming that they are part of the family, Paul had this to say about how they were thinking and acting:
If you died with Christ to the elemental forces of this world, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world?
You can hear what Paul’s implying here: If you died with Christ (and you did), why do you live as if you still belonged to the world?
But just as the Father has rescued believers from the domain of darkness and into the kingdom of Jesus, Paul says that our relationship with Jesus will similarly rewire our thoughts and actions.
So if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God.
Again, he uses the same implied-relationship statement: if you have been raised with the Messiah (and you have), seek what is above.
The Greek word for seek is a pretty intense one. It means to seek in order to find out – by thinking, meditating, reasoning, and enquiring. It carries the idea of striving and craving (even demanding) something from someone.
Paul is letting these believers know that in this family, we don’t establish and maintain a relationship with God by following a set of man-made rules. Instead, we passionately pursue Jesus. We seek Him out. The same thing happens with my boys – they don’t create a “good” relationship with me when they follow self-imposed rules in order to avoid punishments; we have a “good” relationship when they are interested in who I am and what I am like, because it is then that they reciprocate my love for them.
So don’t mess around with the old way of life, the way the world thinks that “religious” people should live. Following rules doesn’t create a relationship with God, but actively pursuing Him will create this new relationship.
Want to know what the new relationship is like in God’s family? Seek Jesus, and he’ll show you.