While sitting around our Christmas tree, after all the gifts had been presented and opened, and appreciation expressed, my three-year-old granddaughter asked, “Is there anything else?” Of course, her response was appropriately cute for a child her age. She went on to enjoy the rest of the day, playing with her toys and being the most wonderful little girl in the world. (Grandparents are allowed to make such hyperbolic statements.) But do we as adults sometimes wonder the same thing after all the glitz and glitter of Christmas passes?
In the Joe Gibbs book, “Game Plan for Life,” the question is proposed like this: Living life by any plan other than God’s plan leaves us empty and asking, “Is this all there is to life?” Year’s end is a good time to ask this question.
As we review the past and set goals for the future, let me offer this admonition from Paul as a beginning point for our reflections: Colossians 3:1 … seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
One Bible commentator noted: the Greek word for “seek” is zētĕō, and it means, “to worship, or to plot; to desire, endeavor.” That definition describes the tug-of-war raging in our souls on a daily basis. Things on earth are here set in opposition to things above. We must not dote upon them, nor expect too much from them, that we may set our affections on heaven; for heaven and earth are contrary to each other.
The Greek word for “set” is phrŏnĕō, which means “to exercise the mind, to interest oneself in; set the affection on.” Paul was not encouraging a disdain for material things. Every physical thing God created is good. Instead, Paul was warning believers against letting affection for things of the world become the center of our lives.
Is Christ your primary affection? Do you exercise your mind and set your affection on Him daily? This is not a “once and done” event that automatically happens when we pray to receive Christ as our Savior. Christ being our Savior is dependent on what He did for us. Christ being our Lord is dependent on what we do for Him. For believers to become disciples, we must consciously and continually decide to make Him our primary pursuit and fight hard to keep the things of this world in their proper place.
I recently read a quote from C. S. Lewis stating, “God is not a way for us to get to Heaven. Heaven is the way for us to get to God.” I think he was merely restating Jesus’ answer in Matthew 22 when He was asked what was the greatest commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.”
As wonderful as it is, our Christmas celebration is a reminder that the blessings of this earth are temporary.
Discipleship and Administration Pastor