” If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind (and affections) on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.” (Colossians 3:1-4)
Walking in the likeness of Christ on this earth stops being some vague, mysterious idea to us when this passage of Scripture becomes real to us. I like the translation of verse 3 in the Living Bible. Although the Living Bible is actually a paraphrase, and, in some places, lacks accuracy, on this verse, it hits the bull’s eye in translating God’s intention in these words. Verse 3 in that translation says, “You should have as little desire for this world as a dead person does.”
Brothers and sisters, when we move into complete surrender to Jesus, we truly recognize that we have been crucified with Him — we have died to this world, to sin, to the pull of our flesh. And we have been raised, but not given our own life to live. Rather, we are raised with Jesus in us, prepared to live out His life, His plans, His purposes, His goals through our bodies and minds. According to this passage of Scripture, our own life is hidden away safely in God. When Jesus comes again in glory, then our life will be released to us so that we may live it out in glory and perfection with Him. But in the meantime, we are not our own.
Let me use myself as an example. Since Sandra Conner is dead, and her life is no longer to be lived out on earth, but rather is tucked away in God for the time being, the only life she is to live here is Jesus’ life. Sandra no longer has rights and privileges for herself personally. Rather, Jesus, in her, has all the rights and privileges. Sandra no longer calls the shots in making plans or determining how she will act or react in any situation. Jesus does. Sandra no longer has the say in how she spends her time, her energy, or her money, because she isn’t living out Sandra’s life any longer. Jesus is using Sandra’s body, mind, and heart to continue to live out His life here on earth, so that His love, His truth, and His power can be offered to all the people Sandra comes into contact with.
Needless to say, Sandra Conner no longer has a right to indulge in offense, hurt feelings, self-defense, self-indulgence, or self-promotion. Jesus has all the rights, and if He does not have His feelings hurt, Sandra certainly can’t express hurt feelings, because she is dead, and her new life is tucked away in God. If Jesus doesn’t give in to the temptation to indulge the flesh instead of spending time in the Word and prayer, Sandra certainly can’t, because she isn’t the one living now.
Do you see how it works, dear believer? Now, please don’t misunderstand: Sandra Conner is NOT perfected in this walk by any means. But by using myself as a real-life example, I can better explain what our understanding and attitude should be.
When we truly see that it is to be Jesus living His life His way through us — that we’re just the carriers, so to speak — then our perspective of life will change dramatically. We will see life from an eternal perspective. Our goals will become eternal goals. We will begin to judge everything we do and say on its ability to accomplish something lasting for God’s kingdom. And we will set our priorities accordingly.
So how do we live this out practically? We will talk more about the how-to’s in Part 2.