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.
One of God's commands to believers is to be heavenly minded. This does not mean that we are to have our "head in the clouds" or to be impractical. The Apostle Paul was one of the most heavenly minded people to ever walk this dusty earth, yet he was also one of the most practical. When the Corinthian church would not support him financially (as it should have) he supported himself by working with his hands making tents. When he was shipwrecked on an island during a cold storm, he gathered wood to make a fire. So what does it mean to be heavenly minded? It means to have our heart set upon those things that are eternal in a manner is affects our daily life. Let's go over these verses one by one:
1. If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
"If ye then be risen with Christ…". In other words, if you have experienced the new birth (have died to sin through repentance and have become a new person by faith in the Saviour) then the following words apply to you. Seek things which are above (pursue after those things which are where Christ is and which pertain to him until we find them). These things include righteousness, holiness, peace, love, mercy, forgiveness, judgment, wisdom, faith, and much more.
2. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
Our heart is to be set on the things of Christ. In other words, we are not to pursue after these things out of mere duty but out of sincere love for God, his word, and his ways. We are to consciously place our affections firmly upon these things and not upon things which are fleeting, which steal our affections away from God, distract us from the things of God, interfere with a life of service to others, and rob us of God's greatest blessings as a result. Does this mean that we cannot enjoy the good things that God gives us? Not at all! He wants us to enjoy the things that he graciously provides for us:
Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded,
nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God,
who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
I Timothy 6:17
3. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
Really? How can I be dead and still have life? The following verse answers this question:
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin,
but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
This is what baptism symbolizes by the way - falling down into the water is a picture of our death and burial with Christ and to the old sinful life; rising up out of the water symbolizes us rising with Christ to new life. If we have "risen with Christ" (through the new birth) then our life is "hid with Christ". This is the safest place in the universe for our life to be, and because of this, we need not be afraid that anything will ever separate us from Christ.
4. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
Appearing with, and living eternally with Christ in glory is the end of being "risen with Christ". The worldly things of this life will appear so shallow and worthless at that point. It is a small thing for the One who loved us enough to die on a cross to expect us to seek and set our affection upon...