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"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory." Colossians 3:1-4

In our baptism, we have been joined to Christ in His death and in His resurrection. Our sins and our old sinful nature were crucified, punished and put to death in Christ Jesus, upon His cross; and as Christ was raised from the dead by the working of God's Spirit, so we have been raised to new life -- brought to faith in Christ -- by the operation, or working, of God the Holy Spirit (Col. 2:10-15).

We are no longer dead in our sins and the uncircumcision of our flesh; we have been made alive to God through God-wrought faith in Christ, and all our sins have been forgiven and washed away in Jesus' shed blood (cf. Col. 2:13-14). In Jesus, our salvation is complete. In Jesus, we have all we need -- God's forgiveness and the promise of life everlasting!

Therefore, since we as believers have been raised up with Christ Jesus, He is our life.

As the Apostle John writes, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is" (1 John 3:2).

By our natural birth, we all shared in the nature and sin of our first father, Adam, who disobeyed God's commandment and brought sin and death upon us all. By our rebirth, the result and working of God's Spirit in us through the "washing of regeneration," "the washing of water by the word" (Tit. 3:5; Eph. 5:26; cf. Col. 2:11-12), we are joined to Messiah Jesus. His death on the cross for the sins of the world was our death and the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Being raised up from the dead, His life is our life and the guarantee that we too shall be raised up unto life everlasting with Him in heaven!

Therefore, since our "life is hid with Christ in God," and since we look forward to His return and being changed into His image and likeness, why would we want to set our love and affection on the things of this world -- things which will pass away with the using and things which will be burned up with unquenchable fire at Jesus' return?

Not only does this apply to man-made doctrines and rules about the foods we may eat, the days we must observe or ways in which we ought to live to prosper in this world (cf. Col. 2:20-23), it has application to the very focus of our lives. Are we focusing all our energy and all our resources upon this life -- on such things as our homes, cars, clothing, recreational activities and the like -- or are we focused on Christ, who is our very life and our only hope?

Paul's point to us is this: If we have been joined to Christ in His death and resurrection -- if we are indeed risen and alive in Christ -- the focus of our lives will not be here in this world or on man-made teachings and rules to better life in this world; our focus will be on Christ and on those things He is working to achieve -- the salvation of lost souls and the building up of His church, that we all might be saved and reign with Him in everlasting glory!

And so, while so many are focusing their attention on the betterment of life in this world -- whether it be through the foods we eat, our lifestyles or teachings about love and charitable deeds -- the true focus of Christians is on Christ and reaching out to lost and condemned sinners with the saving gospel of forgiveness and life in Jesus. You see, Christians know that this world is hopelessly under the sway of sin and will soon be judged and pass away. Christians know and believe that the only way to have life is through faith in Jesus.

One might also say it this way: Rather than using Christ and religion in an attempt to better one's life and the lives of others in this world, the Christian uses his life and the goods entrusted to him in this world to save lives for the world to come. Does that include works of kindness and charity to help people in this world? Most certainly! But the focus is always on the chief work of Christ -- the salvation of souls for His eternal kingdom, a kingdom which is not doomed to pass away as will this world!

Dearest Jesus, my Savior from sin and death and my life and eternal salvation, graciously keep my eyes on You and on those things You seek. Let the focus of my life be on You and the glories of heaven which await us at Your return, and grant that I seek what You seek, the salvation of lost souls, that they too might partake of the everlasting joys of Your kingdom through faith in Your name. Amen.

[Devotion by Randy Moll. Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible.]

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