Things Above

The first few verses of Colossians 3 are verses that help clarify our identity as Christians, while also giving clear and simple instruction for the believer.

[1] If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. [2] Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. [3] For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. [4] When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (ESV)

Verses like these help the Christian answer the question, “Who am I?” Let’s be honest, we all have conception of who we are as individuals, and even an image of who we’d like others to think we are. But for the Christian, there is a definitive answer to this question: we are those who are in Christ.

In Colossians 3:1, Paul makes a rhetorical conditional statement: “If then you have been raised with Christ…”. In other words, ‘you Colossian believers have been raised with Christ, and because this is the case, you should “seek the things that are above.” And really, we could answer the question, “Who am I?” in just this way. We are those who seek the things that are above because we have been raised with Christ.

Paul goes on in verse 3 to say that we have “died” [to our old nature/self] and that now “your life is hidden with Christ in God.” This statement speaks sharply to our identity. My entire “life” is now hidden with Christ. Paul not so subtly asserts that this is who I am; this is my identity.

However, this truth claim often flies in the face of my present reality. If this is who I am, why am I not feeling it, seeing it, experiencing it? Ahhh…here is the secret: “Seek the things that are above.” The master key to the door of true Christian identity is always found in seeking God; or obedience, or holiness. This can be stated in multiple ways, and in this passage, Paul chooses the language of “seeking” heavenly things and “setting the mind” on Christ.

The Greek word for “above” here means “heaven” or “heavenly,” and Paul makes it clear: “where Christ is…” Christian, do you know who you are? Whatever your answer, seek the things that are above.