“If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Col. 3:1-2
To win heaven, the mind must become heavenly; and to be heavenly, it must habituate itself to heavenly things and heavenly pursuits. It is a law of our mental constitution, that the mind assimilates in its tone and habits of thought with the subject which most engrosses its study. Hence it is that we sometimes become men of one idea.
Now the contemplation of divine and spiritual themes has a powerful tendency to spiritualize and sanctify the mind. It seems impossible to breathe a heavenly atmosphere, and not be heavenly; to study holy things, and not be holy; to admire the image of Christ, and not resemble Christ; to have frequent communion with Jesus upon the throne, and not catch some stray beam of His glory. And apart from Christ nothing is really pleasant and satisfying to the heavenly mind. Without Him, what a dreary, lonesome wilderness would this be! But with Christ in the heart, and the heart resting in Christ- He in the center of our souls, and our affections and desires centering on Him- the desert loses its solitude and its desolateness.
To have the eye resting on Jesus- all our heart-springs in Him- the spirit in frequent excursions where He dwells in light and glory- to lean upon Him and converse with Him as though He were actually walking by our side, sitting at our table, associating with us in our callings- this, this is heavenly-mindedness. Such is the counter-attraction to the “things on the earth,”- the secularizing pursuits, the low-thoughted cares, the carnal enjoyments- which we so deeply need. And this powerful counteracting influence which we possess is a realization of our resurrection with Christ, and His enthronement in glory.
“Those who live according to the sinful nature (the flesh) have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” Romans 8:5
By this truth let us test the reality of our religious profession. In this light let us closely examine our Christian character and walk. What, reader, is the habitual and supreme bent of your mind? Is it that which is spiritual, or that which is carnal? Judge of your preparation for death, in the near view of its approaching solemnities. Decide upon your state for eternity, in the rapid progress of its deepening shadows. Ascertain the real state of your case for the judgment, in the certain arrival of its dread scrutiny. You have your mind either set upon the things of the flesh, or upon the things of the Spirit. You are either born again from above, or are groveling in things below. You are either holy, or you are unholy. You are for the Lord, or you are against Him. You are either Satan’s slave or Christ’s freeman. Which?
You inquire, “How may I know that I am of the Spirit?” We answer–by your producing the fruits of the Spirit. A broken heart for sin–a felt conviction of the hidden plague–a humble and a contrite spirit–an utter rejection of a human righteousness–a simple, believing reception of the Lord Jesus–and a breathing after Divine conformity, are evidences of a renewed and sanctified state. If these are yours in any degree, then you are of the Spirit.
But rest not here. Be exhorted to walk in the Spirit. Do not be satisfied with having the question decided in your favor–with just barely knowing that you have crossed the line that separates the regenerate from the unregenerate–death from life. Remain not where you are: go forward. Do not be content with a low standard. Compare not your church with other churches, nor yourself with other Christians; nor measure yourself by yourself. But fix your eye upon Christ; copy His example, imbibe His mind, and place yourself under the government of His Spirit. Strive to go forward! Endeavor to be always sowing to the Spirit. Be satisfied with the Lord’s disposal of you. Study the divine art of contentment. Be convinced that what the Lord ordains is best. Covet but little of earthly good; and, as an old divine exhorts, “sail with a low gale.” Lie low. The great secret of a holy and a happy life is contained in a small compass–walking humbly with God. In all failures in duty, in all shortcomings in practice, in all transactions with God, and in all dealings with man–remembering the innumerable traces of imperfection and sin found upon all you do–deal frequently, closely, with the atoning blood. “Wash and be clean.”