Are We Seeking What We Should?

That is, what Paul instructs us to seek?

Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Col. 3.1
 
What can we say about "the things that are above" and this mandate to be always seeking them? Several things:
(1) They are real; that is, they really exist, and, because they are spiritual they are lasting and ultimately more powerful, important, and transformative than any material or merely temporal things,(2) we must not expect to acquire these as physical possessions. Nevertheless, we are called to seek them, to inquire about them, and to be about them continually. The things that are above must be the highest priority and the defining orientation of our lives. (3) We know about these by the revelation of Scripture. Thus our inquiries into them must be grounded in and defined by the Word of God only. At the same time, the Scriptures teach that creation and culture can aid us in understanding these things, because in certain ways they refract or otherwise express the things that are above, and bear witness to them. Thus, as we study these created things, we must be always seeking in and through them some greater appreciation of the things that are above. (4) The things that are above include beings - God in His three Persons, angels, departed saints, and perhaps other creatures (cf. Rev. 4.6); cultural artifacts of great splendor and beauty (thrones, music, incense, palaces); and various kinds of activities (worship, singing, going here and there in obedience to the Lord, etc.). In reality, that is, in how these things actually appear, they may not be at all like what the Scriptures describe. However, the ways they are presented in Scripture have been chosen by God as suitable for our contemplations. (5) The manner of our seeking these things includes reading and study, contemplation and other devotional exercises such as singing, conversation, or teaching (Ps. 78.4ff; cf. v. 16), and encouraging and instructing one another (v. 16). (6) There is a real sense of continuance about the verb, ζητεῖτε: God intends this "seeking" to define our waking moments, to be a kind of guiding mindset and perpetual pursuit. This requires a radical restructuring of our understanding and use of time, together with a total stewardship of everything in our lives (1 Cor. 10.31; cf. v. 17). (7) If we do not set our minds on these things we will be distracted and defeated by the things of our temporal and material existence (vv. 2, 3). Thus we must discipline our souls and the members of our bodies to conform to these unseen things above in every way, taking as our touchstone and standard the Lord Jesus Himself (vv. 5-15).

Print   Email