Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Starting out with a heavenward mindset

Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Yesterday, I posted about how we are supposed to seek first the kingdom for God. As a New Year begins, it is easy for us to make commitments and have good intentions, but they are much hard to place into practice. So how do we hold to our commitment to continue to seek God's kingdom first?

The first answer is to understand the importance of God's kingdom and our participation in it. The kingdom of God (heaven) began at the beginning of Jesus' ministry of earth. It can be defined as God's reign being applied on earth. Where sin and death had victory over the earth, through the death and resurrection of Christ, they have been overcome. However, the kingdom of God has not reached it's fullness, but will occur at the second coming.

The importance of the kingdom to us is that, as believers, we are now a part of his kingdom. We are citizens of the kingdom of heaven (Ephesians 2:19; Philippians 3:20). With citizenship comes both opportunity as well as responsibility.

So, here is no question about the importance of the kingdom. The question now becomes, how do we continue to seek the kingdom of God? The Greek word "to seek" refers here to a continual strive to make the kingdom the center of one's existence. The way in which we do this is to place our minds on things above (Colossians 3:2). When we wake up, we think first about how we can help God's kingdom expand and be glorified, whether it be in the way in which we act towards others or the words we say. We are not to strive to build our own "kingdoms" of power, wealth, fame, or friends. As believers, we are to have a kingdom focus.

The process of maintaining a kingdom focus is a discipline. It is not simply relying on our emotions to carry us through the day. Rather we are to continually set our minds on the kingdom rather than the earth. Being a faithful disciples requires training (1 Corinthians 9:25; 1 Timothy 4:7).

The Challenge for today is to brainstorm ways in which you can develop disciplines that will help you stay focused on the kingdom of God.

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