“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Col 3:1-2).
Many years ago, while flying over India, Handley Page, a famous British aviator, was alarmed by the sound of some animal, presumably a rat, active somewhere near him, but out of his sight and reach, having evidently come aboard his plane sometime before takeoff. There was no convenient place to land to rid himself of the unwelcome passenger. There were wires, hoses and cables which a rat could soon damage, and their damage could mean loss of control or power. It could mean disaster! What could he do? Handley remembered that the rats common to the plains were not found higher in the mountains because of the thinner air. So, he took his plane as high as he could and kept it there until the ratty noises had long ceased. Upon landing, he found and removed the dead rat. He had mortified that rat by high flight.
Last month we learned about how our Old Man or Flesh Nature was crucified with Christ, thereby causing sin to lose its vice-like grip over our lives. However, the Father has not eradicated the sin nature, but just nullified its power permitting it to coexist together with the New Nature. Hence the Christian is delivered from sin’s power and can peacefully walk in the Spirit. However, as we soon find out this deliverance is not automatic, but has to be consciously chosen as our daily portion if we want to walk in the Spirit continuously. There is nothing to stop us from inviting the old man (flesh) back onto the throne at any time. In fact we are prone to doing this as the flesh is constantly opposed to the Spirit and ever seeks to resume its former glory. So in the text above, Paul gives us practical advice. It is as if he is saying, the sin nature within is like a Rat and will seek to bring you down from your high Christian walk. The only way to maintain your walk in the Spirit is to first recognize another truth – that you are raised with Christ! Higher Altitude! “But God…… made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:4-6). This is our true position in Christ. And since we have been raised to a heavenly seat in the spiritual realm, Paul exhorts us to set our gaze therefore on things that are above. The things above are the things of the Spirit. The things below are the things of the earth. “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit” (Rom 8:5). The purpose is clear. If we set our minds on the things of the Spirit above where we have been seated, then the rat-like-flesh is unable to thrive because the realm of the Spirit above is not its habitat. By fixing our gaze above and setting our minds on the Spirit, the flesh is denied any opportunity to raise its ugly head and our walk in the Spirit is uninterrupted.
Application: Dearly beloved, our loving heavenly Father knows the inner yearning of our hearts to walk in uninterrupted communion with Him in the Spirit. Hence he has provided for us a new habitat in the Spirit realm far above all powers and principalities, all thrones and dominions. So set your mind on the things of the Spirit up there and you will automatically make no provision for the flesh down here. Make Christ your all-consuming object of desire. Seek Him where He is, at the right hand of the Father in heaven, for where the Head is, there the body must be.