“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-4).

We often feel trapped by our circumstances, or at least overwhelmed by them. It could be a momentary thing, like a day filled with worry. It could be a long-term issue, such as an illness or financial problems. I have seen God turn around thoughts and circumstances when individuals focus on Him and pray — or have others praying for them.

Just shifting our thoughts from situations we cannot control — and asking God what we are supposed to learn or see — can give us peace and direction that can change the powerful negativity of that circumstance. And often, if we can look beyond the momentary aspects of this life and realize we have eternity before us, we can even change our perspective.

This is the idea of putting eternal concerns above earthly or at least thinking in that mind set. It does not mean that we do not go to work, pay our bills and be responsible. It means that we do not allow those things to overcome us and cause us to worry so much that we cannot function. It is the idea of looking “through” perhaps a really bad situation and looking “up” to God and asking, “Give me your peace, your perspective, and show me what I am to learn from this.”

God is faithful in answering prayer. Sometimes, He simply wants us to focus on Him, or develop something in our character or habits, or simply to cause us to think heavenward. This is the idea of allowing Christ to rule in our minds.

We have a different perspective on what is important in life when we serve Christ — God’s perspective. We may see that our job crisis takes a different spin in our hearts, a tired mom sits longer with her child at bedtime, and it opens the door for deep conversation, or a spouse stops long enough to look into the eyes of his partner, and sees she is hurting and needs to talk. It stops our rushing, it eliminates our distractions and can cease needless or unhealthy habits that have taken time away from God and family. Simply put, it gets us on the right track.

Setting our hearts and minds on things above can bring peace into our lives and get our priorities straight. We may find we focus on God and individuals more than things and tasks. People are more important than tasks — this is not to say responsibilities are not vital, but sometimes we railroad over people trying to accomplish them.

God can give us the ability to live our lives for Him in the present — and provide us with a hope that outweighs our daily worries. But we have to set Him above everything else. In this, we live a more peaceful and balanced life.

 The Rev. KIMBERLIE ZAKARIAN can be reached by e-mail at holyhouse9@ or by mail at Holy House Ministries c/o the Rev. Kimberlie Zakarian, M.S. La Vie Counseling Center, 650 Sierra Madre Villa, Suite 110, Pasadena, CA 91107.

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