“Christ is my life.”
As a Christian, can you say that? The truth is, he is our life whether we see that or not.
Paul tells us in verse 3 that we have died and that our life is now hidden with Christ in God. Though the world and even we ourselves cannot fully see all that we have in Christ, we have received so much in him.
We have been saved from our sins, our relationship with God restored. Day by day our lives our being transformed into Christ’s likeness, and the day will come when our bodies will be fully redeemed, totally free from sin. More, on that day, we will receive our inheritance in heaven, and be given crowns of glory.
Like I said, all these things are hidden right now. We see some glimpses of these things, but only glimpses. But when Christ returns, then all that we have and all that we are will be revealed as well. Paul puts it this way,
When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (4)
If this is so, then why do so many of us live as we do? Focused not on Christ and all these treasures we have in him, but on this world which is passing away? So Paul tells us,
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (1-2)
Set our hearts on things above. Set your hearts, in other words, on things that are eternal. What is eternal? Our relationship with God. And our relationships with all those who are part of his kingdom. And anything that stands in the way of those relationships needs to be set down in our lives. What things are those? Paul tells us,
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. (5-7)
All these things interfere with our relationship with God. All these put ourselves ahead of God, thinking only of what we desire instead of what God desires. We make idols of sex, money, and other things, casting God aside and breaking the great commandment to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
But Paul also tells us to rid ourselves of things that would destroy our relationships with our brothers and sisters. Things like anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language, lies. Why? Because in Christ we are all one. There are no racial or gender barriers between us now. Or at least there shouldn’t be. We are all one family, and we need to treat each other as such. (8-11)
Instead, Paul tells us to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. We are to make allowances for others’ faults (NLT) and forgive each other as Christ forgave us. And over all these things, put on the love of Christ as we deal with each other and live in peace. (12-15)
And the word of Christ is to dwell in us with all its richness. That starts with the gospel, the message about Christ (NLT). Do we dwell on all that he did for us on the cross, and all the grace that he has showered on us? Are our lives rooted and grounded in his love and grace? And does all his teaching on how to live also change the way we think and live our lives?
More, are we filled with gratitude for these things, and do we constantly remind each other of these things? (3:16)
And finally, in all that we do, do we act in the name of Jesus Christ? Do we act as his representatives to this world?
Christ truly is our life. But are we living that way?