“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Col. 3:1-4).
My husband and I will celebrate five years of marriage this October. It’s safe to say that as we’ve settled into life together, my mind has slipped into being set on the things of earth more consistently than it has been on things above.
I haven’t always fought diligently against the idols of self, comfort, and ease, and we’ve found ourselves taking long walks to sort through life together, pursuing one another, and what healthy intimacy in our marriage really means. Those long walks have been good, but we definitely haven’t solved every issue… we’re most definitely “in process.”
Maybe you’re facing some of the same conversations? Working through some of the same challenges? If so, here are a few thoughts from Colossians that are both challenging and comforting me in this season of marriage.
1. “Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
I’ve been convicted in realizing how many of my thoughts about marriage are based in how the world talks about it, instead of being based on what God and his Word say about it. When I find myself defensive about pursuing my husband in the area of physical intimacy, more often than not, it’s because I’ve slipped into thinking of my body as my own, instead of living out the reality that my body actually isn’t my own. I’ve been bought at a price (1 Cor. 16:20-21) and in marriage, I’m called to give my body to my spouse (1 Cor. 7:3-6).
I need to remember that the ways of the world are not the ways of God and that his are best. He can be trusted, even when my emotions have yet to fall in line.
2. “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
I’ve learned more about dying to self in marriage than I have in maybe any other area of my life. And, what a gift it is! A tough one to receive at times, but a gift nonetheless. Paul’s reminder for the Colossian church is one that I need to take to heart over and over again. Because I have trusted in Jesus’s death and resurrection, I have died and my life is hidden with him.
On a practical level, this means I have no reason to hide or protect myself. As a result, I can give myself freely to the husband God has provided for me. My biggest need—a reconciled relationship with my Creator—has been met. My future has been secured and Christ is my life.
3. “When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
I recently heard Ruth Chou Simons define sanctification as, “God’s good work to realign you to your intended purpose of bringing him glory.” God can and will use literally everything to realign my heart toward him. Every disagreement, every hurt feeling, every misunderstanding.
I feel this reality in my marriage. It’s freeing to realize that every ugly thing that bubbles to the surface when my “beaker gets bumped” is designed to turn me to my Savior. To help me see that in my own strength I am not enough, to show me my need for Jesus, and to remind me that he wants to make me more like himself. He died to pay for my sin and because I trust in him, when he appears, I’ll be made perfect because of him.
When marriage (or anything else) shows me my sin, and provides an opportunity for repentance and sanctification, I have to remember that even when it’s painful, it’s also for my ultimate good.
Five years in and hopefully, another sixty-five to go… I’m convinced that we’ll only make it by God’s grace and by obedience to his Word. Maybe you, like me, need to practice “setting my mind on things above” for the next 65+ years? Let’s lean in, friends—when Christ who is our life has appeared, we also will appear with him in glory!