We’re approaching the weekend, and for many, that means approaching worship on Sunday. Worship is important and I want to make sure that my heart and mind are authentic at every worship service I am part of in this new year. But the Christian walk is about more than worship service. It’s about every moment of every day:
Therefore if 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 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. – Colossians 3:1-3, NASB
This is Paul’s challenge to us all the time. I will do my level best, but I know I will falter from time to time. However, I will not stay down. I will get back up and I will once again put my mind on things above. I want to climb higher. I want my mind and heart focused on heavenly things so I know what to do here on earth. Just doing it during worship isn’t enough. It’s got to be all the time. It’s got to be in everything. That’s my goal. That’s my prayer.
One thing that can dismantle this sort of commitment is fear. But we need not fear. In feudal Japan samurai were supposed to be fearless, even in the face of death. That was part of the code of Bushido. They could take this attitude because they believed in reincarnation, that they would be reborn into another life when this one ended. As Christians, we know there’s a life after this one, but a heavenly one, not another earthly one as the samurai believed. We have already been identified with Christ’s death on the Cross. Therefore, that eternal life is protected and kept safe by God due to our Savior, Jesus Christ. And that’s why Paul makes the point that we shouldn’t be focused on earthly things because no matter how bad it may be here, there’s something greater to come. Something that can’t be taken away. Something that should keep our focus on above, not here around us.
And that’s where I want to be. I want to have that sort of fearlessness for God. I want to have it all the time. It’s easy to praise God and love and adore Him at a worship service. We’re surrounded by others who are supposed to be doing the same thing. Therefore there’s no pressure on us. No one should cast a glaring stare when we sing along with a praise chorus, nod our head at a point the preacher is making, or quote Scripture to encourage a brother or sister in Christ. We’re “safe.” But if we’re only doing it in the relative safety of the church building, we’re not honoring the lifestyle Paul is calling us to here. It’s got to be more than how we act inside the walls of the church. It’s got to be how we act in our daily lives.
I want people to see my life and realize that I am different because of Christ. I want them to understand that the good they may see in me is becaue of Him. I don’t want to get in the way of that. But if drop my vision back down, if I stop trying to focus on things above and I stop striving to climb higher, that’s exactly what I will do. I’ll obscure people’s vision of the Savior. They’ll see me and not Him. So I’ve got to keep pushing. I’ve got to listen to God, I’ve got to be ready to respond to His calling, to know His instruction fully so I can carry it out properly, and to give everything as I do so. And I’ll keep my eyes upward, on Him on the throne, so others will not see me, but Him. That’s the way to start the new year.