STUDY | Spend the week studying Colossians 3:1-4. Consult the commentary provided and any additional study tools to enhance your preparation.
DETERMINE | Determine which discussion points and study questions will work best for your group.
PRAY | Pray for our pastors and this week’s message, the upcoming group time, your group members, and their openness to God’s Word.
LANDING POINT | In every way and at all times, I must seek and set my mind on Christ.
Remember the 4 Rules for Small Group Discussion
- Confidentiality. What’s said in the group stays in the group.
- No cross-talk. Be considerate of others as they share. Refrain from side conversations and texting during group time.
- No fixing. We are not in the group to fix each other. Jesus does that part.
- Sharing. Be sensitive to the amount of time you share. Don’t talk too much or too little. Every person brings something valuable to the group.
As your group time begins, use this section to introduce the topic of discussion.
AT THE CORE
The Bible understands the heart as the core of who you are. It’s connected to your physical, intellectual and spiritual self. Whatever captures your heart is the thing that directs your thoughts, attitude and behavior. It’s the thing or person you worship. You put your time, ambition and energy into the things you have the most affection for. In other words, the heart follows what it truly loves.
Paul Tripp puts it this way:
You and I are either worshiping and serving the creation or the Creator. The spiritual struggle is that we all tend to vacillate between the two. There are times when we get it right, and the deepest motivation and joy of our hearts is to live in a way that pleases God. But there are other times when we tell ourselves that there is some created thing that we have to have, and we functionally forget God and give ourselves to getting this thing that has capture our thoughts and shapes our desires.
This week your group will discuss how to direct your motivation and mind to worship Christ. Paul’s call to the Colossians is one for us today—in every way and at all times, you must seek and set your mind on Christ.
Q: Where in life do you see people investing a lot of time, ambition and energy?
Q: How can you relate to the quote above? Explain.
Select 2-3 questions to discuss as a group.
MOTIVATED TO LIVE
Having just spoken against false teachers in Colossae, Paul finishes his letter with practical application on how the Colossians should live out God’s truth. In this section the apostle focuses on two important areas in the Christian life: motivation and the mind.
Paul identifies believers in the death and resurrection of Christ. This is his way of spurring on the Colossians to act out of the truth they know, to motivate them to live for Christ. It’s as if he’s saying, “You have died to sin and have been raised to life in Christ. His power is in you and it’s working to transform you. Now you’re able to live a life pleasing to God. Therefore, seek the things that are identified with your life in Christ. Live the holy life God called you to live by longing to know Him and experience more of the blessings you have in Him.”
READ: Colossians 3:1–4. Why is motivation important for a believer? What happens when we lack motivation?
Q: Recall a time when someone motivated you in your walk with Christ. What did they do or say?
FIX YOUR GAZE
These believers have a new motivation to seek God. They also have a new mind, one that is undergoing radical change. Their mind now belongs to Christ and He is making it like His own, which is focused on things above. To Paul the mind is more than thoughts. The mind focuses on what it loves and values most. Therefore, a believer’s mind should be fixed on what is most valuable and worthy of love—Christ. It should be focused on the believer’s destiny, which is greater than the temporary things of this world.
Q: What are some practical ways to focus your mind on Christ?
Q: What does it look like to focus on the temporary things of this world?
Select 2-3 questions from this section to answer.
A RENEWED MIND
The mind is a strategic place for the enemy in spiritual warfare. If the enemy can take the hill of your mind, he will gain an enormous advantage. Paul knew this, which is why he told believers in Rome, “Don’t be conformed to this world and its thinking. Instead, be transformed by the renewal of your mind.”
How do you renew your mind? By letting Christ capture your heart. If you want to win the battle of the mind, remember the gospel and how it changes you at your core. That is, it changes you in the depths of your heart. Think about how it weaves its way into your life and relationships. See how, in every way, the story of Jesus shapes your story.
Q: How have you experienced spiritual warfare in your mind?
Q: How would you see your life differently if you looked at every circumstance through the lens of the gospel story?
A VISION OF GLORY
Paul points the Colossians to a future hope for all believers—Christ’s return. One day He will come back, establish His reign over God’s kingdom forever and restore creation to its original beauty. When this happens, believers will share in the glory of Christ, in His being the King of kings and Lord of lords. Until that time, believers must live faithfully in the here-and-now while also being mindful of the future glory that awaits them.
Christ’s return gives you hope in the present. Hope in the future helps you see today differently. It gives you a new frame through which to see life and the joys and sorrows it brings.
Q: Describe someone who lives faithfully for Christ in the face of difficulty or struggle. What do you admire about this person?
Q: What’s one thing you can do this week to remember your future hope in Christ?
Select 1 question from this section to ask your group.
MADE FOR ANOTHER WORLD
You were created for worship. God made you to love Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. God made you to desire and enjoy the things from above because that’s what you were made for. Or, as C.S. Lewis puts it, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”
In Colossians, Paul gives us a picture of Christ seated at the right hand of God. This is Christ in His majesty. This is Christ, the Victorious One. In calling the Colossians to focus on things from above, the apostle is telling them, “You have a destiny, and it’s with Christ in glory. Right now, you live in a broken world. Every day you experience its brokenness. But remember your King. Remember Christ. Fix your gaze on Him and trust that His redemptive story is unfolding in this life for your good and His glory.”
Q: Where in life do you experience the brokenness of this world?
Q: What are some ways to fix your gaze on Christ and remember His redemptive story? How can you do this as a community?
Praise God that you are a new creation in Him. Because you are a new creation, God has called you to live differently. Ask Him to reveal any ways you are focusing on things of this world rather than things from above. Pray through Scripture by reading Romans 12:1–2 out loud and ask God to capture your heart and renew your mind.
Midway through this week, send a follow-up email to your group with some or all of the following:
• Read 2 Corinthians 4:16–18 and reflect on where you see God’s renewing work in your life.
• Ask the group to share any stories or lessons learned where they see God at work in their lives.
Belief and Behavior: Your theology (i.e., what you believe about God) informs your thoughts and behavior. Belief and behavior are not mutually exclusive. Almost every one of Paul’s letters begins with doctrine and moves to application. This structure establishes right belief, which then leads to right behavior.
Things Above, Things Below: “Set your minds on things that are above contrasts with the things that are on earth and refers to pursuing a deeper knowledge of Christ himself (Phil. 3:10) and all that belongs to living with and for him. This would include seeking first his kingdom (Matt. 6:33) and living a life worthy of his name (Col. 1:10; 2:6).”
Resurrection Power: “Being ‘raised with Christ’ is the source of power for living the new life (Rom 6:1–14). God’s irresistible power overcomes the irresistible compulsion to sin. Christ’s exaltation ‘above’ means that believers, who are joined to Christ, should set their hearts and minds ‘on things above.’”
Being Transformed: For scriptures about God’s transformative work in believers, see Jer. 32:38–40; Ezek. 36:26; Rom. 8:29; 12:2; 2 Cor. 3:18; 4:16–18; Phil. 1:6; 1 John 3:2. These passages show us how God initiates, sustains and will complete our full transformation into the image of Christ.
1. Paul David Tripp, New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2014), 1, Kindle edition.
2. C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2009), Kindle edition.
3. Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), Kindle edition.
4. D. A. Carson, “Colossians,” in NIV Zondervan Study Bible: Built on the Truth of Scripture and Centered on the Gospel Message, ed. D. A. Carson (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2015), Kindle edition.