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. (Colossians 3:1, 2 ESV)
Seek, set your mind on, things that are above. Just as Jesus said, seek first God’s Kingdom. The challenge for Christians is living for the “above”, while living in the “below”. Challenge is an understatement. Struggle might be more suitable. The verb is Seek, Set – it is active, a conscious effort. If I could read the original text it would probably tell me that it is in the “progressive tense” in the sense that it is a constant, ongoing, action. Seek. Set your mind. Fix your eyes on Jesus.
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry… you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another. (Colossians 3:5, 8, 9a ESV)
The Bible acknowledges that it is there, in us, in the life of a Christian. It is something we have to deal with. “Put to death what is earthly in you”, I won’t be surprised if in the original text this is also in the progressive tense.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. (Colossians 3:12-14 ESV)
As with the previous passage, I don’t think this is meant to be an exhaustive list, but a guide. Besides I don’t think we can obey these perfectly. This guide shows us what it looks like, for a person seeking what is above compared to a person seeking what is below. Somehow, we know, we can tell. It is the application of it that is the difficult part.
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17 ESV)
To cap it off, a simpler guide. Useful for people like me who get overwhelmed. Whatever we think, say, and do – do so as one carrying the name “Christ”. In, and through Him. Because seriously, this is so difficult to do – impossible – by only our own strength.