How To Set Your Mind On Things Above


The world is laced with so many challenges, obstacles, desires, achievements, and cautionary instructions that fill the mind of an average individual. There are tasks to check off, goals to achieve, things to have, and problems to avoid. Activities of the world crowd can overtake your thoughts as should be, yet, Colossians 3:2 instructs us to “set our minds on things above (heaven)…”  But how exactly should this be done? Does scripture mean forgoing all of the activities that a person is expected to be involved in and considering them as worldly? Let’s find out.

As a believer, you are regarded as a lawful citizen of heaven and should always consider yourself as such. It makes total sense to focus on heaven and all that is in it as a primary end goal. However, that’s just one side to what the Bible expects a believer to apply from Colossians 3:2. 

This article will give you a precise perspective and explanation of what Paul stated in Colossians 3:2. What he said is broader than what you might be thinking.

Biblical Context of Colossians 3:2 

The book of Colossians was written by Paul for the church in the city of Colossae. Colossae had an immoral, pagan, and false culture that infiltrated the faith of the Christians in Colossians, much like it is today. Dangerous false teachings threatened the belief of the Christians in Colossae, hence they couldn’t take cues on character traits they should uphold from the people/society surrounding them. 

We now see Paul in Colossians 3:2 telling them to, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”Above refers to Heaven, while Earth can be synonymously described as below in this context. He started the chapter by introducing why they should focus on the things above. According to Paul (as he spoke to the Colossians), they had accepted salvation and put their faith and belief in Jesus. As a result, they needed to seek the things that are close to the heart and position of God. “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 NKJV)

He went ahead to instruct them to put to death every sinful desire or behavior lurking within them which could rise from the flesh (Colossians 3:5-8), whilst they build the character of the new man by engaging in the fruits of the Spirit (Colossians 3:12-15). He concluded the chapter by explicitly explaining how a Christian home should run. (Colossians 3: 18-25).

In essence, the context of the scripture dwells on the manner in which believers are meant to behave.

Set Your Mind On Things Above’ Meaning In The Bible

The human mind is the seat of every action taken. Before you decide to do a thing, you must have thought about it, turned it over and over in your mind’s eyes before concluding in your heart to take that action. That is how powerful the mind is. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:”(Proverbs 23:7a KJV). 

Our mind/heart in turn is controlled by what we allow to come into it. Daily news, bible scriptures, TV shows, books, gossip, events, magazines, instructions, movies and experiences: all these things shape the way we think and what goes on in our hearts. 

Considering how powerful the heart is, Paul mandated believers to focus on the things above – heavenly things- and not on the actions/behaviors they see around them. 

Doing this can be hard. It takes daily concentrated effort and a willful spirit to choose God’s way. In a world, where immorality is normalized, you can’t lose your guard and focus on the things below. If you desire to be with Jesus after all is said and done, you must take up your cross and willfully follow him.

What Are The Things Above?

The things above are of heavenly nature. They are characters, behaviors, and attitudes that please the heart of God. But what exactly are they?

Colossians 3: 12-14 describes these heavenly characters as the fruits of the spirit such as long-suffering, love, etc., and other godly behaviors that glorify God which include humility, contentment, and forgiveness.

Throughout the scripture, we are instructed on specific characters to take on as children of God. Galatians 5:22-23 explicitly lists outs the fruits of the Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such, there is no law.” 

What Are Earthly Things? 

To stay within the confines of God’s Word as a Christian ought to, the Bible would be considered on what it says about “the earthly things”.

“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19‭-‬21 NKJV)

“Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds,” Colossians 3:5‭, ‬8‭-‬9 NKJV

Why Is A Heavenly Mindset Important?

As stated earlier, our minds control our actions. Therefore having the right mindset- the heavenly one will make us take Godly actions. Here are reasons why your mind being set of heavenly things is of utmost importance:

  • Maintaining a heavenly mindset means you birth heavenly things which last forever. As you think like God, you act like God and eventually will meet Him when the time comes. 
  • Focusing on heavenly things builds a strong foundation of moral values in your life. You find yourself naturally adapting to a lifestyle that heaven approves of.
  • You create treasures that are eternal. Matthew 6:19–20, 33: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven”
  • You will be more connected to things of God as you obey and aim to think like him.
  • Devoted Christians who set their minds on the things of God will be granted eternal happiness in heaven. 

How Can We Focus On The Things Above?

Consider these tips as strategic ways to help you focus on heavenly things:

  • Begin your day, every day, with God. If you want to think like it is done in Heaven, begin your day by communicating with the God of Heaven. This will not only help you easily start your day on a good note but it will also help you remain cautious of God’s will.
  • Meditate on God’s scriptures daily to internalize God’s thinking pattern. Always turn to the scripture to know what God has said about something and stay on it.
  • Prioritize obedience to God’s instructions. This would help you transform even faster into a heavenly kind of behavior.
  • Resist the devil. The devil will try to fight your efforts. Don’t think he won’t. Don’t even try to underestimate him. Resist every temptation of the devil as you strive to focus on God.
  • And lastly, commune with fellow Bible-believing believers. You need the support of believers to continually motivate you to think like God. Having people that strive to do the same thing you do will make it a lot easier.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, “set your mind on things above”. After understanding what this means, the next step is to actually do it. Start putting these steps into practice, keeping at the back of your mind the end goal.

Jesus is the end goal. He is the ultimate reward. To be with Him and reign with Him is the deepest, innermost longing of every human heart. His manifest presence changes everything. Obeying this scripture will help you fulfill a wonderful Christian life, avoid bad influences, and prepare you to meet your lover, Jesus, after fufilling purpose here on earth. It’s not an easy path to walk but in the end, it makes all the difference.