Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Focus of Holiness

“Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”  Colossians 3:1-2
We all know we should do this and most of us are probably familiar with the passage in Colossians. But how in our everyday lives are we to practice this?
I have always both enjoyed and learned from stories and parables that teach me lessons from Scriptural principles. I read this one about 40 years ago and what follows is my paraphrase from memory.
In an ancient eastern kingdom the monarch had become a Christian and was learning the principles from the Bible on how to both live the Christian life and rule in a way pleasing to God. One of his most faithful servants had become a Christian through the king’s example, but he was struggling mightily with sin and the difficulty of leading a holy life.
He came to the king one morning to ask how he could better live the Christian life, how to become holy. In answer the king did the following:
He had the servant fill a silver goblet to the very brim with oil. Handing it to his servant, he commanded an officer of his guard to follow him with a drawn sword.
Now it is necessary to the story to know that a carnival was going on in the streets of this great city, a weeklong mardi gras. There were singers and fools and animals throughout the streets.
The king handed the goblet filled with oil to his servant and said, “I want you to walk through the city and come back to the palace without spilling a drop. If you spill a single drop, my guard will immediately cut off your head.”
The terrified servant yet trusted his king and began walking. After hours and hours he successfully made it back to the palace with no loss of his head.
The king said to him, “So tell me about the carnival…did you enjoy it?”
“What carnival?” answered the servant, “I saw no carnival. I was concentrating on the goblet.”
The king immediately said, “Concentrate and focus on God in the same way, and you will lead a holy life.”
This is the task of the Christian:  to set and keep our mind on Christ. For if we “turn our eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face…the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His wonder and grace.”

Probably the absolute best passage of scripture you can memorize to remind you of this need to focus on the Lord and His word is Psalm 1, just 6 verses. I would encourage you to do so.
”The look saves, but the gaze sanctifies…”