God’s Upside-down Kingdom
“Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:1-2 (NASB)
As I was reflecting on Colossians 3:1-2, I was reminded of the story of Mary, Martha, and Jesus in Luke 10:38-42.
While Martha is busy preparing food for her guests her sister Mary sits at the feet of Jesus. Martha then complains to Jesus that it isn’t fair that she’s doing all the work while her sister does nothing.
Jesus responds, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
Jesus isn’t saying that Martha’s service is unappreciated, or that it doesn’t matter, and I don’t believe He’s saying, “Mary can just sit here and never lift a finger” … that wasn’t the point.
Martha’s issue wasn’t that she was working too much. It actually says that she was “distracted” and her mind was “tumultuous” or “agitated”. It was a heart issue.
I’ve caught myself in the past year not knowing how to handle certain situations, so I just bury myself in what feels like it is in my control: work.
It can be pretty easy to justify ourselves when we get caught up in this, after all,
“Who’s going to get the work done?” and “If I don’t make it happen it will never get done”.
I am a doer. I struggle to find rest, even when I’m doing nothing. It’s not that I don’t like the idea of being quiet and sitting at the feet of Jesus, but I become restless as I sense my inadequacy and the best way to cover that is with busyness and people pleasing. It can look really “Christian” doing lots of good things too.
When I see these two passages I can hear in the back of my mind the adage, “Don’t be so heavenly minded that you are of no earthly good”. I think that’s where I get hung up; I don’t want to go through life with my head in the clouds, but I feel like I have to prove my worth, which is a losing battle.
And that’s where my religion meets His grace. He invites us to ”Come, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” He offers us to “cast your cares upon the Lord” and to “Be still and know that [He] is God”.
As I write these all-familiar verses, I want to acknowledge that it isn’t just about easy answers. However, as complex as we try to make it with all of our intellectualism and the layers of our doubts, we see a God who’s not afraid to go to hard places with us, and who calls us to a hard but simple act every day: Trust.
We have such a great hope when we realize our brokenness, for there is power in surrender, and strength in weakness. That’s the liberation of the God’s upside-down Kingdom: that as we die to ourselves, He raises up and forms in us a New Nature, in the likeness of His Son. We could never earn it, but we get to inherit it!
“Christ’s resurrection is your resurrection too. This is why we are to yearn for all that is above, for that’s where Christ sits enthroned at the place of all power, honour, and authority! Yes, feast on all the treasures of the heavenly realm and fill your thoughts with heavenly realities, and not with the distractions of the natural realm.” Colossian 3:1-2 (TPT)
A reflection on Colossians 3:1-2