Human beings have two options. Two life-paths from which they must choose. The first is what Colossians 3 describes as “things above,” a perspective centered on Christ and His Kingdom. The second, described as “things below,” is a mindset centered on the flesh and worldly considerations. Following the “things above” leads to tremendous benefits of life fulfillment. Following the “things below” leads to “death”—which is separation from the great benefits God desires for us.
The Greek word “phroneo” is translated in Colossians 3:2 as “Set your mind.” This is the same word around which Paul weaves the letter to the Philippians. The mindset (“phroneo”) Paul admonishes in Colossians is to put oneself in alignment with Christ and who He is—his suffering, obedience, and glory. This allows us to follow the “things above” and gain the great benefits of life.
By adopting this mindset (“phroneo”), we gain the reward of the inheritance, which is the greatest possible treasure. It is “life.”
Since all humans were created in the image of God, aligning oneself with the mindset of Christ is the path to our greatest fulfillment. It is a realizing of how we were made and what we were created for.
No matter one’s station in life, this mindset is available. It is our choice to adopt this perspective. It is a choice we need to make over and over again in order to maintain it. Much of Paul’s letters to the Colossians is a plea to adopt this way of thinking, on an ongoing basis.
When we adopt the right perspective, certain attitudes and actions are sure to follow. Paul lists some of these, not as rules, but as examples of what it looks like to die to the things below and adopt a life centered on the things above.