What Are You Focusing on This Year?

Do you make new year’s resolutions? While the beginning of a new year is a good time to set new goals and create new plans, it is also a great time to examine our hearts and minds with the set purpose of growing closer to the Lord Jesus, Father God and Holy Spirit.

What will our hearts and minds be focused on in 2023?

“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.  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” Colossians 3:1-4 NIV

In the previous chapter, Paul refers to the fact that Christians have died with Christ. Romans 6:1-4 explains it further by stating that we have died to sin, were buried through baptism, and live a new life. The passages we are discussing today, Colossians 3:1-4, outlines strategies for living this new life.

Strategy #1: Seek things above, where Christ is.

God wants us to want Him more than anything on this earth. The passage could mean that we are to set our hearts on spiritual matters in general or on heaven specifically. Focusing on both of these will help us, but let’s consider the latter, setting our hearts on heaven.

When we set our hearts on heaven, we desire heaven and all the blessings God has in store for us. In John 14:1-3, Jesus tells us that He will prepare a place for us, then come and get us so we can be with Him forever! There will be no more tears, pain, mourning or death in Heaven, as John explains in Revelation 21:4. Christians will be rewarded according to 1 Corinthians 3:8.

Based on the Scripture, how do you envision heaven?

Strategy #2: Direct our minds to heavenly things rather than earthly things.

In Col. 3:2, the Greek word translated “set your mind on” is the same word translated as “mindset”1 in Philippians 2:5-11, where Paul tells us to “have the same mindset as Christ.” He goes to explain that Jesus was a servant, humble, and obedient — even to the point of dying.

1 John 2:16 explains that there are three types of sin — things our eyes long for, desires of our flesh, and what our selfish pride wants. These temporary longings draw our hearts away from God; however, if we do not intentionally set our minds on the things of God, we will fall prey to these temptations.

What are some ways for us to have our minds set on spiritual things? Here are a few suggestions.

  1. Pause throughout the day to praise God and to thank Him for specific blessings.
  2. Memorize Scripture and recite it to yourself.
  3. Read the Bible every day or several times throughout the week.
  4. When we realize that we are paying so much attention to our jobs, our stuff, or even our relationships that we are not focusing on God, repent and turn our minds to Him and His love.

Our lives will reflect what we treasure. How is a person’s world different when their heart is set on spiritual things instead of the things of the world that ultimately bring pain, destruction, sadness, and eternal death?

Strategy #3: Remember that we have given our lives to Christ and will be with Him in His glory.

Ponder this truth. Pray about it, asking God to fill your mind with it.

What’s next?

How many articles have you read this week? Probably a few (or a lot!). In order for the truth of the Word as outlined in this article to make a difference in your life, it has to be put into practice. So you may need a reminder, such as printing the Scriptures and placing them in a prominent place where you can read them on a daily basis. Consider memorizing one or more of the Scriptures mentioned and reciting them to help you remember to put them into action. Reading is good, but unless we put Jesus’ teachings into practice, we will not be changed.

– Jo Umberger | Vice President | NewLife Behavior International

1 Strongs. “5426 phroneo.” Biblehub.com, https://biblehub.com/greek/5426.htm. Retrieved 01/06/2023.

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