5. Seeing Ourselves from the Clouds
“Keep thinking about things above, not things on the earth, for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
Colossians 3:2-3 (NET)
About what do you find yourself thinking when you have a minute alone? Where does your mind wander when you are supposed to be focused on work or something you need to read? Paul called for a new focus for those who are new people in Christ. Proverbs 23:7 says, “As he thinks within himself, so he is” (NASB). Thinking is serious business!
Read Colossians 3:1-4.
1. Write down the two instructions given in these verses. In other words, what two things did Paul specifically tell us to do? How do they relate to each other?
2. For what reasons are we to obey these instructions according to these verses?
3. How can focusing on these truths (#2) help you fulfill these instructions?
Digging for Diamonds: Find Scriptures that help you focus on these truths. Write them on cards to put in strategic spots to help you remember them.
4. Sharing question: Rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being fully focused) as to how well you are doing with these two instructions. What in your life is preventing you from obeying?
5. Responding to God: Draw a picture. (Yes, you can do it. Stick figures are fine!) Show what is between you and this kind of focus. Talk to God about it.
We saw yesterday that in Col. 3:1-4 Paul called us to keep a heavenly perspective. It is a mind-focus. He based his instruction on some basic truths about believers. When we begin to grasp these truths and make them part of our everyday thinking patterns, our minds will begin to have a heavenly focus, a view “from the clouds.” Today we are going to fill our minds with Scriptures that repeat these truths. Don’t read them quickly but meditate upon their meaning to your life as a believer.
Read Colossians 3:1-4.
Paul said that we “have been raised with Christ” (3:1) because we have died and our lives are “hidden with Christ in God” (3:3).
1. Read these other passages that develop these same thoughts. Write down what you learn and your thoughts.
a. Romans 6:1-11
b. Gal. 2:20
c. Eph. 2:4-7
d. Phil. 3:10
3. In Col. 3:4 Paul reminded us that the day is coming when Jesus will appear and we will be glorified. Write down your thoughts and insights on these truths from these passages:
a. 1 Cor. 15:42-58
b. 1 Peter 1:3-7
c. 1 John 3:2-3
d. Rev. 5:1-14
Digging for Diamonds: Find other verses about Jesus’ glory, His coming and our glorification. How do they help you focus on the heavenly?
4. Sharing question: Which one verse of those you read today best helps you focus your thoughts on the eternal? Why?
5. Sharing question: Yesterday you thought of one hindrance in your life that prevents you from keeping your mind focused on the eternal. What do you need to do to get rid of that hindrance?
6. Responding to God: Write a prayer for the grace to have an eternal perspective today.
Read Colossians 3:1-11.
1. List all the things we are instructed to get out of our lives (3:5-8).
2. How do these specific instructions in 3:5, 8 relate to the instructions in 3:1-2?
3. How do the truths about believers in 3:1-4 (review Day 2 Study) relate to the instructions of 3:5, 8?
4. Compare these other lists of sins from the verses below with the lists of 3:5, 8. Write down your insights.
a. 1 Cor. 6:9-11
b. Gal. 5:19-21
c. Eph. 5:3-5
Digging for Diamonds Use your concordance and Greek dictionary to define the specific terms used for these sins in 3:5, 8. Write down your insights.
5. Write down any insights you have about the two lists (in 3:5 and 3:8) and their relationship to each other.
6. Sharing question: Which of these sins is most convicting to you? Why?
7. Responding to God: Spend time with God confessing the sins of which He convicted you. Believe that He forgives completely (1 John 1:9).
Read Colossians 3:1-11.
Yesterday we considered the sins listed in 3:5, 8.
1. What sin did Paul emphasize in 3:9-11?
2. What reasons did Paul give for his instruction in 3:9 about that sin?
3. Of all the sins listed in Colossians 3:5-11, what makes this one so important that Paul gave it such emphasis? (Consider all he says in 3:1-10, the context.)
In understanding what it means to put off the old man (self, NASB) and put on the new, the note in the NET Bible is helpful: “They give an explanation of what had happened to the Colossians at the time of their conversion—they had taken off the old man and put on the new when they trusted in Christ.”10 Although we are women, we have a new “man” within us, Jesus Christ Himself; thus, we become new women!
4. What do you learn about the old man/new man from Romans 6:5-6 and Eph. 4:22-24?
Digging for Diamonds: Read your commentaries on these passages (#21) that mention the old man/new man or self concept. What insights do you gain?
5. Sharing question: How does the picture of taking off the “old” and clothing yourself with the “new” help you seek the eternal rather than the world (3:1-2)?
6. Responding to God: Ask God for His perspective of your life. How well are you showing forth the “new woman”? Spend time listening for His voice.
Read Colossians 3:1-11.
1. How do 3:10 and 3:11 relate to each other?
2. Sharing question: If knowledge is a key to being renewed in Jesus’ image (3:10), what do you need to do in a practical way to increase your knowledge or remind yourself of what you already know?
Digging for Diamonds: Look up the Greek words for knowledge and know. Use the list of cross-references in your concordance to consider the importance of knowledge in Scripture.
3. If you are to grow into the image of Jesus, how does the life He modeled help you understand how to focus on the eternal? Write down your insights from these verses:
a. John 17:18-19
b. Phil. 2:5-8
c. Heb. 10:5-7
d. 1 Peter 2:20-25
4. Sharing question: What situation are you facing today in which your focus needs to change to the heavenly and the eternal? What truths have you learned this week that can help you do that? What can you do to keep your perspective on them rather than the situation?
5. Responding to God: Bow in worship of Jesus and His model of the kind of person you need to be. Write down your thoughts.
Materialism is rampant in the culture we live in, especially in the “work hard, play hard” environment that is Dallas. I often struggle with being too consumed with what I do and do not have materially and can be guilty of comparing myself to others. I find that watching the news and reading the newspaper to keep informed about what’s happening in other places in this world and right here in Dallas really helps me keep a perspective on what’s important. I have so many blessings: good health, stable job, supportive family, and lots of nice things! Realizing that others in this world endure hardship that I cannot even comprehend puts how I spend my money and what I spend it on in perspective.
If God has blessed me, then I should help others. When Christians are being persecuted or imprisoned for spreading the gospel, children are starving, or women are being beaten or raped in other parts of the world, why do I need another pair of new shoes? I feel that God expects me to be a good steward of the money he’s given me whether it’s being used for evangelism or to specifically help the poor and oppressed of this world – here in Dallas or elsewhere. Knowing that my money can be used to do much more in other places and that it can be used towards eternal purposes helps me keep the right perspective towards material possessions.
10 NET Bible, note #7 p. 2164.