Paul says in Colossians 3:1-2 , “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” And this command is frequently misunderstood and misapplied.
There is a clear distinction between the “things above” and the “things on earth”, but Paul’s point is not that physical things on earth are to be hated and only ethereal, heavenly things “up there” are to be pursued. It is not that the earth is bad and heaven is good. It is not true that the material is bad and the immaterial is good. That is a false religion and has gotten many Christians into bad lifestyles over the centuries.
The issue is ethical and not material. What God created, all of what He created, He called good, and we dare not argue with Him about it. Not only that, but all of the ceremonial distinctions of “clean” and “unclean” from the Old administration of the covenant have been set aside, and we are to do what Peter was told – Rise and eat. In other words, we are to help ourselves to the things of this earth. Those things have nothing to do with our holiness.
It is what we do with those things that has everything to do with our holiness – and that is Paul’s point. This earth is a place where we are tempted to take that which is good and pervert it, worship it, envy it and others who have it, and sin with it. Heaven is a place of purity and holiness, where everything is treated according to God’s will – and so we are taught to pray, Thy kingdom come, thy will be done – here, on earth – just as it is in heaven.
Well, here we are, in a service of worship where heaven and earth are joined covenantally, where we are instructed how to take the things of this earth and use them in heavenly ways with heavenly motives and heavenly goals. And as we learn, we will then be sent out as ambassadors to the world to show the world how to help ourselves to the things of creation, giving thanks to the Creator, and enjoying it all to His glory.
And that is how we seek the things above while living down here. And it all begins here, in the worship of Christ who is seated in the heavenly places and has raised us up with Him. Come and worship your God.