Spiritual hunger is something we’re born with. Our spirits continually seek God out, longing to be restored to our rightful place and role in His creation. If we are truly raised with Christ it is to live as stewards and ambassadors, seeking out things above and living in the supernatural life He freely shares. He sits at God’s right hand. This is where we must look, not at the things below we have been raised out of.
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. (Colossians 3:1)
The Bible uses imagery of looking, seeing, hearing, and listening extensively, always within a spiritual context. Both seeing and hearing accompany the process of seeking, which is central to the human spirit and human nature. We are essentially born seeking on both a spiritual and a natural level. Our spirits instinctively seek for God because it is His Spirit within us that gives us life. The Bible tells us that deep calls to deep. This inherent spiritual seeking is what draws people either to Christ or to the various mystical alternatives that seem to promise fulfilment. On a natural level, we seek material or emotional things. We saturate our lives with things we perceive as having value. Our seeking involves things around us, not things above.
Things above is what we were created for.
God handled the creation of man very differently to everything else. We were created to steward His world – to be above. Our spirit nature and vision was formed in His image with the express purpose that we see as He sees. As God’s stewards in this world, we were shaped to see everything from His perspective so we could exercise the authority He gave to mankind in order to fulfil His will. While we have the ability to see ‘horizontally,’ we were created to also see vertically. His purpose in us is to see the things above and establish His kingdom in the things below. It’s a very logical hierarchy designed by God for His sovereign purposes. Of course, the fall messed all that up and man developed a strong lateral focus. We began to seek in the familiar, controllable things rather than in the supernatural things of God.
The cross isGod’s provision for seeking after God. Even hardened atheists cannot eradicate the instinctive search for ‘meaning’ or relevance or something bigger. All they do is replace the real treasure with counterfeit palliatives. These will one day leave them in eternal torment. Seeking for things above is at the very heart of who we are. The spirit within will hunger for the source of its existence. It will harbour a loneliness that things can mask but never fill. The very life within us is of God and will continually turn towards living the things we were created for. We rush around seeking all the wrong things in the wrong places. But God has shaped a specific place for us in His universe. Our spirits know this and that is why the horizontal seeking and aspiring after success will never satisfy.
Seeking things above or things below.
I’m reminded here that Jesus told us that if we seek we will find. He recognised the seeking nature, and it’s a wonderful assurance to know that our search will be rewarded. But we must keep in mind that the finding applies as much to things above as it applies to things below. Because of the spiritual hunger, God has ordained that we will find. This promise applies across the board. What we seek for is what we will find. If our heart is set on God, that will be the outcome. But if we hunger after the things of the world, we will find the things of the world which will decay and fall away. Those things that are above are eternal. They are the antithesis of the things below because they are sustained by the eternal life that is God Himself – His Spirit of resurrection and life.
Jesus came to be the way, to empower our seeking and draw us back to our rightful created place. This doesn’t make us some ‘super-special’ anything. Everything we can be or do is always centred in the sovereign power and will of our most holy God. But until we learn to walk in our ordained position for His purposes, we will continue to hunger and thirst and endure the frustrations of unfulfilled purpose. Try to make a sheep lay eggs and you’ll have one very disgruntled sheep. That’s not what it was created for. Choosing to seek out the things below is essentially stuffing ourselves into a role for which we’re not shaped. We have to live in the world, yes. Adam and Eve did too, even before the fall. But it was our position in the world that was lost, and with it the perfect will of God.
Things above and raised with Christ.
In the context of our position and role in God’s universe, we can understand the immensity of the truth inherent in being raised with Christ. The day will come when all believers will be a little higher than the angels. This is because we will dwell with Christ as sons of God and share His inheritance. For now, though, we’re still here in the world and so are lower than the angels. However, we have already received our inheritance in Christ. All things are yea and amen in Him, so while we are limited by our fleshly existence, we are supernaturally empowered to enjoy things above. Jesus is seated at God’s right hand in heaven. But He is also within each believer. He has made the way to restore us to the place God intended for us. We can live a supernatural life within a natural existence.
This is what Paul was reminding us of with ‘if then,’ which is both a challenge and an assurance. To be raised with Christ is so much more than simply ‘born again’ and carry on as normal. We are raised with Him for things above. If we’re raised up we’re also lifted up above the things below. It’s a restoration of what was lost in Eden, one which will be perfectly fulfilled in eternity. But we’re supposed to begin to live it now. The ‘if then’ indicates that seeking after things above is the evidence of being raised with Christ. If we’re still seeking things below, we have to ask whether we’re raised. The absolute truth is that we were. God’s Word does not lie. The challenge, though, is that we don’t rise. Our thinking, our understanding, and our seeking remains world-bound. We find what we seek.
Seek things above is an imperative.
Paul leaves no little fuzzy grey areas here. We arenot raised with Christ so we can live forgiven but still continue in the old way. He raises us to live above the habits, pressures, and wrong thinking that perpetuated our fruitless searching. We cannot claim to be raised with Christ and not live in the life He has freely given. The ‘vertical seeking’ that God has ordained for us unites us with our living Saviour. Our purpose is vertical seeking and horizontal giving. In Jesus, we are stewards and ambassadors of the most high God, and we need to start living it. We do this by seeking things above – the wisdom, knowledge, grace, power, and love of God. Our role and our purpose is to stand for Him in this world.
To do so, we must look upward and live above rather than look downward and live below. As sons of God we live to do His bidding and to serve and worship Him in surrender and obedience. To live in Christ requires submission as well as exercising His authority according to His will. Only when we seek the things above will we live the purpose for which He created us.
Lord, forgive us if our seeking has been earthbound rather than heavenwards. Help us, Lord Jesus, to take the way You so lovingly made for us and to look to You always where You are seated in glory at the Father’s right hand. Stir us up to look beyond self and our worldly affairs to Your eternal purpose, so that we can live in You and bring glory to Your name as we step into that for which we were created.