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What Do We Value?

In Colossians 3, Paul argues for a profound, radical, and clear value system for Christians. But to understand fully what he is campaigning for, it is necessary to define in the simplest terms what a value is. A value is anything that you consider to be important. You value those things that have worth to you. In fact, something you value is something you see as desirable. And the more you value it, the more desirable it becomes, and the more desirable it becomes, the more likely that desire will be evident to those around you.

With that in mind, consider Paul’s teaching in verses 1-4. He presses us to value the things that are in Heaven, where Christ is. And he specifically calls for us not to value those things that are on earth. According to Paul, we should consider spiritual things, which are eternal, as more important than things that are temporal. This is in perfect harmony with the teachings of Jesus, who told us that we should not lay up treasures for ourselves here on earth where it will all just rot away, but to lay up treasures in Heaven where it is secure and can be enjoyed forever (Matthew 6:19-21). But our way of life, and the bondage that is our human nature beckons for us to build our lives on wealth, status, comfort, pleasure, ease, and everything that can be torched in a flash as easy as hay, wood, and stubble. This is terribly unprofitable (1 Corinthians 3:11-15).

In that passage Paul reminds us of what the real foundation of our lives is, and why we should not ignore it. He tells us that we have died with Christ, and that our old selves, marked by sin and earthly desires, are gone, and that we have new lives hidden in Christ. In fact, it is here that he argues for the core of our radical new value system. He says that Christ himself is our life (Colossians 3:3-4)! It isn’t work that is your life, or hobbies, or relationships, or any earthly thing that is your life. It is Christ, and what he would have you to do and value that is your life. You should be so intertwined with him, that your life is indistinguishable from his, so much so that it appears “hidden” inside of him. Paul says that such a state is a glory for you to share in that is far beyond anything that can be afforded by lowly, corrupted, terrestrial, carnal things.

So according to Paul, our value system should be one in which we put the most importance on things that are spiritual, heavenly, and Christ centered, because those are the things most desirable to us. After considering these thoughts, take a moment to examine your own life. If someone were to assess your life, what would they think you desire and value most?

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