1 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
According to Vine’s Dictionary, the Greek the word used for “seeking,” is the idea of longing and desiring something. The Apostle Matthew, in his gospel, uses the same Greek word when quoting the Lord’s “Sermon on the Mount.” He records Jesus saying:
Matthew 6:33 NAS “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Jesus is calling man to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness with an intense desire and longing. Making anxieties and worries secondary, seeking first God’s kingdom is the context into which Matthew 6:33 fits. The same thing applies in Colossians. Seeking “things above” is the point of longing, desire, and prioritizing. Developing a passion for heavenly things takes perspective; a focus of the One seated at the right hand of God makes that fervor possible. Still more interesting is the fact that Paul presents the verb in the present tense. Kenneth Wuest translates verse 1:
“In view of the fact, therefore, that you were raised with Christ, the things above be constantly seeking, where Christ is, on the right hand of God, seated.”
The idea is to never stop seeking things above. This is a life-long, character-altering pursuit. We don’t just quit because we don’t feel “it” anymore. The design of Paul’s imperative is to keep us constantly seeking the things found at the position where Christ is located. Then, letting this new perspective influence how we behave and look at life.
Let me see if I can simplify this a bit. Just as Jesus was raised physically from the dead to new life, so are we now raised spiritually in Him—that’s the product of identification with Christ! And this foundational truth is our new spiritual position to live in, everyday. All who believe in Christ are raised with Him! It’s now imperative that you continue seeking the things located at the place where He is. This makes us heavenly perspective people.
Sadly, not all folks who receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior decide to seek heaven on a consistent basis. The longing and desire for God wanes, and prioritizing His kingdom and righteousness become secondary. Before we become distressed and wonder whether or not we are personal betrayers as Judas Iscariot, let me mention that the Lord is very much aware of this and is not giving up with us just because we were not the perfect imprinted of a ready-made spiritual life! The Lord tells others to seek first His kingdom because He is aware that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Paul is conveying to the Colossians the importance of seeking things above because he is aware just how fast we’re capable of forgetting what Christ has done!
Seeking heaven is a life-long dedication and process. There is only one incident in the bible that speaks of an individual so ready, so perfect, that God took him—Enoch. His walk with God was so singular that he was wanted right away. For us, it may not be so automatic. Seeking heaven, in the sense mentioned by Paul, must be cultivated, tended, and guarded. Carelessness and apathy are the enemies of longing and desire.
That’s why Paul gives the imperative to seek heaven. That great biblical scholar of the 17th century, John Lightfoot said, “you must not only seek heaven, you must think heaven.”
J. Robert Hanson