-Article by Derrick Stiles, TBC’s 2016 graduate

What does it mean to “seek those things which are above?” From a general understanding of the scripture we would assume this means, a focus on the eternal Heavenly place. However, if one spends time studying to understand the implied meaning of Colossians 3:1-11, one would find it refers to a lot more. To seek that which is above, one must first be raised with Christ. As seen in Romans 6:3-4 “that as many as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore, we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” When one desires the rewards of the spiritual kingdom; that is “setting your mind on things above, not on things on the earth,”(Colossians 3:2), they are lead to obedience of the Father; which is, baptism for the remission of sins. These sins which are put to death in baptism consist of; “fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry,” (Colossians 3:5). If one possesses these sins, there thoughts are not focused on that which is above; the eternal Heavenly place.
The wrath of God is upon those whose attention is given to a disobedient life. The act of disobedience causes one to fall short of the glory of God and beset them on the day of judgment. Paul said to, “put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth,” (Colossians 3:8). Paul wrote to the church at Galatia, listing the same negative characteristics, addressing them as “works of the flesh,” which cause one to be lost. Rather, by example show goodwill and kindness toward each other; the type’s of things which exemplify that which is a Christian, “Love, Joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control,” (Galatians 5:22-23). These are known as the “fruits of the spirit,” the characteristics which show mankind the true essence of being a Christian. Paul said, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another,” (Galatians 5:25-26). Rather, find forgiveness for provokers, salvation for the lost, and love for the alien sinner.
When one seeks that which is above they are making the consciences choice to, “put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man,” (Colossians 3:9-10). From early teaching by Paul, to the church in Rome, one must understand this to mean the old man was crucified with Christ in Baptism, Romans 6:6. The new man is in reference to those who have died with Christ, and will live forever in Him, found in Romans 6:8. This is in reference to the life eternal in Christ, with the eternal Father in Heaven. Therefore, from this teaching one must, “reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord,” (Romans 6:11). When alive to God, they are “renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,” (Colossians 3:10). When someone is “renewed in knowledge,” the mystery has been made known to them by the word of God. Paul said in his letter to the church at Ephesus “that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ),” (Ephesians 3:3-4). This knowledge is now made readily available to everyone through God’s earthly kingdom, the church. As is learned from Acts 10:34, “Then Peter opened his mouth and said, ‘in truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.’” Therefore, confirming that the mystery is for all, “Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all,” (Colossians 3:11). Regardless who you are; black or white, male or female, young or old, the Gospel is for you. In conclusion, to seek those things which are above you must; put those negative characteristics out of your life and seek that which is good. Obey God’s law, putting to death the old sinful ways, and being renewed in Christ to walk as a new man.

img958646-Pictured above are Derrick Stiles (left), Joseph Stiles (middle), and Heather Stiles (right) at a Bible Bowl gathering.