A Life-changing Experience

yogi

Colossians 3:1-3 “Since, then you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”

Baseball great Yogi Berra was the master of the obvious statement. He is the man credited with coining the phrase, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” Obviously. Here are some of his other quips like that: “You can observe a lot just by watching.” “If you can’t imitate him, don’t copy him.” “A nickel isn’t worth a dime today.” “The other teams could make trouble for us if they win.”

Here’s one he didn’t say, but it fits in the same category. “Death can be a life-changing experience.” Obviously. Yet many Christians fail to appreciate just how true this is for them: even now every believer has died with Christ and has been raised with him. Paul points out what a difference that makes for our lives in these words from Colossians chapter 3:

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

Set your minds on things above. Heaven is where our focus belongs. It is more than a distraction. Setting our hearts and minds on things above is no mere escape, like a trip to the movies to get my mind off life for awhile.

“For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” We died? How? When? We died with Jesus when he went to the cross as our substitute. Our worldly obsessions, our selfish cravings, our moral failures–all of them were nailed to the cross when Jesus died. No need to dig that corpse up and keep looking at it.

But there is so much more than a death here. “…your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” Jesus is not just our death. He’s our life! We rose with him. He is still our substitute now at God’s right hand in heaven. When God wants to see what you look like to him, then, he doesn’t have to go searching here on earth. He can turn to his Son, seated in glory at his right hand. There he sees us as glorious, perfect creatures, because our lives are hidden with Christ in God.

It makes a difference where we set our minds. What happens when a child grows up in an abusive home, and over and over again he is told that he is stupid and worthless? Over time he begins to believe it. Then he even begins to act that way. It becomes his identity. It becomes how he sees himself, and that has an effect upon everything else in his life.

Now, what happens when all of a Christian’s focus is on his existence here in this world? He is constantly confronted with his own frequent moral failures. His life is full of disappointments and troubles. Relationships are messed up. Career goals don’t pan out. His body is subject to sickness and decay. Death is inevitable. If that is all the input we receive, or if that dominates, won’t we see ourselves as dying failures and act accordingly?

But that is not the truth! That life died with Christ at the cross, and our real life is hidden with Christ in God. Although we can’t see it now, God assures us that we really look like Jesus in all his glory. That is our true identity. That is who we really are. Because of the forgiveness of sins we are holy saints. We are children of God. We are creatures of heaven.

See your life above, hidden with Christ, where you are seated with him at God’s right hand in glory. Then you can live like those who died and rose, who died to sin with Christ and rose with him to heavenly life.

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