What We Believe Determines How We Behave

A Lesson Learned From My Grandfather–

When I was young and impressible growing up, my grandfather had a habit when outside–always walking with his head down–as if he was looking for something that he might have lost.

My grandparents lived in a different part of Southern California than my parents, so visiting them on holidays and weekends during the Summer were a real treat for me.  That was where I first learned to ride a  bicycle which was stored in the garage just for my use–and learning to roller skate on the miles of sidewalks surrounding my grandparents home[no sidewalks to skate on where I lived].  All because it was something to do while not getting in someone elses hair.

Eventually, as the Summer days grew hotter and physical activity for even a young became uneventful,  I would watch my “granddad” puttering in his carpentry shop attached to the homesteads garage.

Now I never learned much from watching, because of my impatience.  But it was still a treat to see how granddad could fix anything with his hands!

One day I decided to ask him why he always walked around the yard and side patio with his head down.

“Well son, that’s a good question.”  And I waited, and waited, and waited for his answer.

Keeping my FOCUS set!
Keeping my FOCUS set!

“If you keep your eyes on where you are walking, you will never know what you might find.”

I immediately followed up the question with a question:  “Like what granddad?”

He pointed his aged and well calloused finger to a small crack in the paved walkway.

“Look over there Mel.  What do you see?”

“NOTHING,” I replied.

And then, slowly bending over, he proceeded to pick up an old, weathered copper penny and placed it in his open palm.

“Do you see what you been missing all this time?” he asked.

After our conversation, he walked back to his small little workshop while I wondered if there was a deeper lesson here.

I hesitated for a minute, not wanting him to see what I was about to do.  Getting down on my knees, I began searching intently, in every cranny and crack in the payment.  There must be more TREASURE out here…more COINS hidden… if I just keep looking and watching with my head down like granddad.

What We Believe Determines How We Behave:

The story I shared becomes a good picture of how many people live in our society today.  They are constantly searching for something because they know there’s got to be more to life.   But they never find it if they don’t know what it is they are missing.

Breaking away from the past…

If you want to break away from your past, then where you put your eyes is very important.  Although my grandfather never wanted to break away from his past, at least I don’t think he did.  Where he put his eyes was of importance to him.

Colossians 3:1-4:

Instead of looking down, the apostle Paul challenges us to LOOK UP! :

[1] IF THEN you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

[2] And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth.

[3] For [as far as this world is concerned] you have died, and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God.

[4] When Christ, Who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in [splendor of His] glory.

LOOKING UP! 

Colossians 3:1 establishes the TRUTH…

Since we have been RAISED WITH JESUS…we have a new status and therefore A NEW LIFE.  We now have a POWER SOURCE for living.

I remember at the age of 20, driving home from work after a  graveyard shift; getting out of my car and kicking the rear tire, hurting my foot in desperation cry, “There’s got to be more to life than this!”  It wouldn’t be until 10 years later would I discover the POWER SOURCE.

Being positioned to LOOK UP.

BELIEVERS have died with Christ Jesus, been buried with Him, have been raised with Him, and as Ephesians 2:6 states, we have been seated with Him in heavenly places.  This is our position, but we must assume these truths on a daily basis to break free from the past.

That’s why Paul writes,  “set your minds and keep them set on what is above”–

I’m sure you heard the phrase, “He/she so heavenly minded that he.she no earthly good.”  Personally, I would consider that phrase if directed to me, as a compliment.

It’s more likely that people today are so worldly-minded that they’re no heavenly or earthly good!

IF WE TRULY SET OUR HEARTS AND MINDS on things above…

We will experience POWER and FREEDOM here on earth.

The word “SET” means to seek something out with a desire to possess it [i] Footnote–like a dutiful grandson on his hands and knees while seeking a penny with great desire in the cracks of cement.

The word Paul uses is in the present tense, which implies that we’re to continue to SEEK the things above.  It’s NOT a one-time decision, but a daily activity.

JESUS puts it this way in Matthew 6:21:  “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

When I was a youngster, the TREASURE I sought–where my heart was–was to be found with my head downward.  Even as a spiritually immature Christian, my FOCUS was directed to what was in my wallet.

If our FOCUS is on things that will ultimately rust, tarnish, break down, or burn up…our energy and emotions will be misplaced.

If we SEEK JESUS–allow Him to become our ultimate treasure, then our hearts will follow.

Our knowing “where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.”

This is a reminder to us all.  JESUS is supreme and in control of all we have, all we do, and where we go on earth.  Christ is exalted (lifted up!) and sits at the right hand of the Father; He is sitting down, not standing up.

One of the most often quoted Old Testament Bible verse is Psalm 110:1:  “The Lord says to my Lord:  Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.  The word shows that His redemptive work is now complete.  “IT IS FINISHED!”

BELIEVERS HAVE TWO RESPONSIBILITIES:

Our FIRST RESPONSIBILITY–

To “set our hearts on things above.”

Our SECOND is to…

“set our minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

This literally translates,  “Keep on thinking, as a matter of habit, on the things above, and not on things on the earth.”  Our FEET must be on earth, but our MINDS must be in heaven.

So thoughts can, and will influence our actions…

So, if we place our THOUGHTS ABOVE and not on earth, our BEHAVIOR will reflect those things that matter to our Father in heaven.  This is not an easy thing to accomplish.  We are bombarded by outside influences–the worlds way of thinking about world events around us, material obsessions, etc.

PLACING OUR MINDS ABOVE…

This requires a never-ending effort on our part because by NATURE, we have a tendency to LOOK DOWN as my grandfather’s habit transpired, instead of LOOKING UP!

But if we fix our eyes on the things above, GOD will change our desires; and if we change our mind, GOD will change our heart.

FIVE REASONS TO “LOOK UP”:

#1.  We’ve died (verse 3 a.).

When looking back at the CROSS where we DIED POSITIONALLY in Christ Jesus, we have no obligation to live like we used to live.

This parallels the verse in Galatians 2:20, where Paul share his current spiritual position by saying “I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…”

#2.  Our life is hidden with Christ (v. 3 b.).

The image I get here is a large BANK VAULT.  My TREASURE is stored away in my account–SECURED in trust for eternity.

#3.  Christ is our life (v. 4 a.).

By realizing that Christ is our life today, we should have a new attitude towards anything that may happen to us.  There should be nothing to fear!

#4.  JESUS will come again! (v. 4 b.).

When I was growing up and getting the news that my grandparents were coming, I would be so excited…I would wait looking through the front screen door with excitable anticipation:  Are they here yet?

Since JESUS is coming again, it makes sense perfect sense we should be looking up continually…not knowing the exact time of His arrival, but knowing that He will soon be here.

The phrase “WHEN” is better translated “WHENEVER Christ appears”.  The FACT of His return is certain but the time is indefinite.

#5.  We will appear with Him in glory (v. 4 c.).

The verb “APPEAR” means to make visible what is invisible – [ii] Footnotes.

When JESUS returns, the real position of the BELIEVER, which has been hidden to the world, will be made known.  Better translated, “whenever Christ appears.”

CREDIT: jonathanselby.com
CREDIT: jonathanselby.com

1 John 3:2 (Amplified Bible):

“Beloved, we are [even here and now God’s children; it is not yet disclosed (made clear) what we shall be [hereafter], but we know when He comes and is manifested, we shall [as God’s children] resemble and be like Him, for we shall see Him just as He [really] is.”

REMEMBERING WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST JESUS:

Paul has been urging us to LOOK UP and REMEMBER:

—  Who we are now…

—  Who we once were…

—  Who we will be when Christ returns.

Some QUESTIONS to ask ourselves after reading and meditation on God’s Word today:

—  “Where am I looking?”

—  “What does my mind focus on?”

—  “What gets my hearts attention?”

READERS, we must all make a conscious effort, a deliberate daily decision to LOOK UP!  Set our minds and hearts on heavenly things.  Our outlook determines our outcome.  Keeping our minds and hearts in the right place will often determine where we end up.

HAVE YOU MADE THE DECISION?

 

FOOTNOTES:

[i]…[ii] Expository Dictionary of Bible Words.

PHOTO CREDITS:

 “Keeping my focus set” – Photo Pin  and jonathanselby.com/pg25pics html

SOURCED COMMENTARY:

Brian Hill’s “Breaking Freedom From the Past.

BIBLE TRANSLATIONS USED:

Amplified Bible and New International Version.

 

 

 

3 Replies to “What We Believe Determines How We Behave”

  1. I like the look of the new site, Mel. I very much like and agree with your position on where our focus is and the need to set our minds on heavenly things. We also so need to remember that we have died to our old life and there is a whole new vista that awaits us in Christ. May we have eyes to see and ears to hear.

    Like

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