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Setting our Affections on the Things Above


"Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth." Colossians 3:2

How solemn and full of meaning are these words! To set the affections on heavenly things is to realize the ardent desire of the apostle, that he might "know Christ and the power of His resurrection." Oh, there is a mighty, elevating power in the resurrection of Christ! It is the great lever of a child of God, lifting him above earth, heavenward. To know that he is closely and inseparably one with the risen Head of the Church, is to be the subject of a continuous, quickening influence, which in spirit raises him from the dust and darkness and pollutions by which he is surrounded, fixing the affections with greater ardency of devotion and supreme attachment on things above. Oh, nothing will more sanctify and elevate our hearts, than to have them brought under the "power of Christ's resurrection." Following Him by faith, from the dust of earth to the glory of heaven, the affections will ascend with their Beloved. Where He is- the heart's most precious treasure- there it will be also. And oh, to have the heart with Christ in heaven, what an unspeakable mercy! And why should it not be? Has earth more that is attractive and lovely, holy and worthy of its affection, than heaven? Here, we are encircled by, and combat with, spirits of darkness and pollution, principalities and powers; there, is "an innumerable company of angels." Here, we are much separated from the Church of God; there, is the "general assembly and Church of the first-born," from whom nothing shall divide us. Here, the Divine presence is often withdrawn, and we are taunted and accused by our foes; there, is "God the Judge of all," whose presence will be our eternal glory, and who will "bring forth our righteousness as the light, and our judgment as the noon-day." Here, we often hang our heads in sorrow, at the imperfections we mark in the saints; there, are the "spirits of just men made perfect," "without fault before the throne." Here, we often lose sight of our beloved Lord; there, is "Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant," never more to be veiled from our view. Oh, then, how much richer and more attractive is heaven than earth, to a renewed and holy mind, each moment growing richer and more attractive, by the accession to its happiness of those, the holy and loved ones of the earth, who have for a little while preceded us to that world of perfect bliss! Our treasure in glory, how rapidly it accumulates! Death, which impoverishes us here, by snatching from our embrace the objects of our love, by that same act augments our riches in heaven, into the full possession and enjoyment of which it will, in its appointed time, beneficently translate us. But the sweetest, the most powerful attraction of heaven, let us never forget, is, that Jesus is there. Ah! what would heaven be, were He absent? Could we, at this moment, rush into the fond embrace of the dearest of the glorified ones, and not meet the "Chief among ten thousand, the altogether lovely One," who on earth was more precious to our hearts than life itself, oh, how soon would its glory fade from our eye, and its music pall upon our ear! It would cease to be heaven without Christ. Even on earth His presence and His smile constitute the first dawnings of that better world. And he who lives most in the enjoyment of this- and oh, how much more may be enjoyed than we have the faintest conception of!- has most of the element of heaven in his soul. Aim, then, to cultivate heavenly affections, by a life of high communion with God.

–Octavius Winslow

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