Tony Evans — From Heaven to Earth
Confessing that, inviting heaven's view into your life, you declare what you are going to do. I'm going to speak righteousness, I'm going to speak peace, I'm going to speak the will of God. You put on the new clothes, and then God begins to kick in and shift the mind so that over time you are controlling it. It is no longer controlling you. Because you are adopting a heavenly perspective.
Hello, family. Tony Evans here with "The Urban Alternative," excited as always to be back with you and to be able to share the powerful Word of God with you today. We're in the midst of a series called, "The Eternal Perspective," because we want you to see how to live a heavenly life in a hellish world. How do you bring heaven's perspective into your history?
Well, today, we're gonna talk about, "From Heaven to Earth," how the mindset from above controls the feet here below so that you have a heavenly existence although your surroundings may not be heavenly. We're gonna look at Colossians chapter 3 because that gives us that perspective.
So join me, and the Apostle Paul, and let's find out how to bring heaven down to earth.
When you and I accepted Jesus Christ, the Bible says we became new creatures in Christ, another kind of creation. Yet at the very same time, we often are not living up to the newness and, unfortunately, find ourselves many times living opposite to the uniqueness. Paul in writing the Colossian church, addresses this reality, so stay with me today and let's see how an eternal perspective can be transforming.
He says in chapter 3, verse 1, of Colossians:
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 things 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 our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
Many are suffering from what I might call a disease of spiritual Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's is where the mind or the brain can no longer formulate accurately thoughts, words, and ideas in order for the life to move as it ought to move.
This dysfunction and death of brain cells produces inactivity within the life. The body can't do what the body was meant to do, because something has gone wrong in the head.
Paul makes it clear that your victory in life is tied to your mind. It is in the shift of your mind that will determine the redirection of your life and my life. Whatever is in your life that ought not be there that is wrong, is not starting with what you do.
It's starting with how you thought about it. And that's why there's so much in Scripture about the redirection of the mind. And the need for the mind to be reprogrammed. The Bible declares that when you and I accepted Christ, we got the mind of Christ. But we often plug old CDs into a new mind.
So we are playing old programming that works against the transformation that God is after in the life. He says that when you became a Christian, you became identified with Jesus Christ. He says that "you are raised up with him. You're seated with him. You've died with him, and your life is hidden in him."
That Jesus Christ, his Resurrection, is to produce the new point of reference for your life and my life. And if we lose sight of that new point of reference, we may function in terms of our old life, not in terms of our new life.
And so he, first of all, wants you to understand that the difference you want in your life and my life and our lives is going to start by understanding with your mind the hook-up that took place as a result of your conversion so that, in the mind of God, you and Christ have been linked together and it is in understanding and activating the new link of your salvation in your mind that will take your life being able to turn over the ignition so that the body can go where the body is designed to go.
So, first of all, you need to understand mentally that the hook-up has occurred. Then what's the process of getting this ignition turned on in my head so that it moves through the rest of me in how I function in my Christian experience?
He says in the 2nd verse, the key phrase: "Set your mind."
Do you see that? "Set your mind on things above." When you learn to on purpose set your mind on heaven while living on earth, until your system learns to do it automatically, then the transformation will begin to occur because your mind will automatically know to engage heaven in order to have a proper movement in history.
God doesn't want you to be so heavenly minded you're no earthly good. But he doesn't want you to be so earthly minded you're no heavenly good. He wants you to reach high and touch low, so that you live out on earth heaven's perspective in time. But to do that, he says, you've gotta set your mind.
You've gotta say today, "I have set my mind to live my life and make my decisions from heaven's point of view." And unless that has been naturally built into your system, you've got to intentionally tell yourself that on a daily basis, you must set your mind. Why? Because I now no longer belong to myself. I belong to Jesus Christ and my life is hidden in his.
I need to be the sum total of the definition of your existence if you want to experience the transformation that I'm offering. And so, a little Jesus on top, a little prayer a day to keep the devil away.
A little Lord have mercy. Without stirring that thing in when I get up and when I go to work and when I come home and when I do this and when I do that, unless you stir me in to the totality of the coffee of your existence, then the transformation of the mind that is the key to the change in the life will not be experienced.
Every quarterback has in his ear a system designed for him to hear signals being given to him from the man upstairs in the booth, 'cause the man upstairs in the booth is seeing the whole film and seeing the whole field and seeing all the arrangements, and so he'll send a signal down into the receiver of a quarterback's ear 'cause he's got a bigger picture than the quarterback has in order to steer him in the way he oughta go.
So the receiver is designed to pick up somebody from--who's sitting high and who's talking low in order for him to navigate all the things that are trying to defeat him on the field of play.
It says in the text, "Jesus is seated up there," but we're living down here. But there's a receiver that he wants to send to your mind, to your mind. In other words, God will share his thoughts with you. He will take his thoughts, make 'em your thoughts, so that you think what he thought. And when you think what he thought, you can now do what you think 'cause the only reason you think it is because you thought it and the only reason you thought it is 'cause he sent it.
And the only reason he sent it is 'cause he can see it. And so he begins to shift and shape the mind so that you, in fact, begin to think differently which is always the basis of how you operate. You only do what you do 'cause you think what you think. And so, he says that this happens in the mind, but your life must be viewed as hidden with Christ.
In other words, totally absorbed by him. Not just a point of reference you visit every now and then, but total ownership by him. Because he is seated on the right hand of God, he's gonna give information from that location.
So if you want heaven's information, you must be tied to heaven's location, and when you're tied to heaven's location, that feeds information into the mind, which is the spiritual aspect of the brain, that infuses and informs the soul.
So that raises a question now. Then what must I do? How do I get this thing working so that I begin to change what I do because I change what I think, because I now know who I am?
He tells you in verse 5. "Therefore," in light of the principles that have just been taught, "consider the members of your earthly body as dead." Wow. "Consider the members of your earthly bodies as dead."
Let's help you with the word "consider." Let me give you a synonym: fantasize. Fantasize the members of your body, the whole physical part of you as dead, fantasize. Consider, view it this way, look at it this way.
When you look in the mirror, take a peek at a dead man walking. Consider, think. Think this way, that your physical being, although we know it's alive, but fantasize at it as though it were dead, even though we know you still move, talk, walk, hear.
But he said, "Don't look at it that way. Look at it differently. Look at the physical, your earthly body being dead when it comes to those areas that are outside of the will of God."
He names a bunch of 'em: immorality, impurity, passions, evil desires, greed, which is idolatry, in which you used to walk. That's how you used to live. He includes a bunch of other things in verse : wrath, malice, slander, abusive speech. So, he's talking about consider your body as dead when it comes to those things outside of the will of God.
I want you to think like you're already in heaven. That's what he's saying. I want you to fantasize as though you are already in heaven, which means that when you get up every day, have a funeral service.
He said, "Consider yourself dead." Dead people have funerals, right? So you look in the mirror and you say, "This aspect outside of the will of God is dead. It's dead." Now, it doesn't feel dead, it doesn't look like it's dead. No, it's dead, and have a memorial service, just look at it for a while. If you have to, create a gravestone.
You're dead. He says, "I want you to think this way because now you're thinking from heaven's point of view, not earth's point of view, because that's what God says happened when you came to Christ. You might wanna take the thing that's killing your life and write its obituary. So, once it gets your mind to do this, once you say, "Okay, I'm gonna operate each day and I'm gonna bring those things that are outside of the will of God and I'm going to declare it to be dead, even though it's still trying to jump up and do its own thing in me, I'm going to declare it to be dead."
You know, one of the reasons we, like in our school and--we bring people around who have accomplished certain things in life to give the children a vision for something they may not have seen before, to know that you can become this, or this, or this, or that. It can be all levels, but you can become this. You know what we're trying to do? Expand their minds.
Even though they're a kid, if we can give 'em a dream-- Black History Month when the whole nation is celebrating the accomplishments of African Americans. One of the great tragedies of slavery is that when the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, many slaves would not leave the plantation 'cause they'd been living there too long.
That was their security, that was their food, that was their clothes. They'd just been there so long that it was too much trouble to be free. Too much trouble, too risky, too far north. And so, it was just too much trouble, so they would prefer many times the security of slavery, rather than the opportunity of freedom 'cause they had been in it all their lives.
Some of us have been held hostage to stuff 'cause it's been there all of our lives.
My momma had it, my daddy had it. My daddy was an abuser, my momma was a drunk. My momma cussed and fussed. My daddy cussed and fussed. I'm just doing what I always have seen and I've been doing that and you get ready to transfer it to your children 'cause it's just been there so long.
So that's called a plantation mentality. And Satan wants to keep you with a plantation mentality, that I'll never get better, I'll never overcome this. I'll never get victory over this. I'll always be defeated by this. And the worst statement of all, this is just who I am.
No, that's not who you are. If you've become a Christian, you have died in Christ. And you have been set free, even if you don't feel free. Simply because God said so. It's just we gotta set the mind, he says, so that you begin to experience over time the freedom that God declares is yours.
He says in verse 8, "Put aside all these things: wrath, malice, slander, abusive speech," 'cause what that means is that the world is crouching in on you. The world is imposing itself on you. The world is doing its thing against you. He says, "Put aside the abusive speech."
Verse 10: "Put on the new self." Put on the new self. Put off, put on. This is a reference to changing clothes, so follow this now. This will be the key. Take off, put on. When you take a shower and I take a shower, we don't put on the same dirty clothes we took off, I hope. Because we all know if you put on the same dirty clothes you put off, you've canceled out the shower.
The shower is designed to make you zestfully clean. The shower is designed to purify the dirt. But if you put on the same clothes that you had on after you took the shower, the shower, while real, is of little benefit. The worst thing you can do is sit next to somebody with dirty clothes on who has the audacity to tell you, "But I took a shower."
What good is a shower without a change of attire? Jesus Christ says, "I am your shower. I want you, after considering yourself to be dead," you gotta start there. "I want you now to take off the old clothes, that is, the old way of thinking, the old way of operating, the old pattern of life because with the change of mind, I've given you the power to take off the clothes."
But it's not enough to walk around nude just 'cause you took a shower. The whole idea is you must dress up with something else to replace what you took off, so it's not just, "Don't do this, don't do that, don't do this, don't do that."
That's taking it off. And you know you need to take it off, but you've got to cover up with something else. So what he says is, when you consider yourself to be dead and you pick up this new way of thinking, new way of operating, new life, he says, "Something is going to happen," verse 10, "you will be renewed in a true knowledge," okay?
Watch this. He will take care of changing your mind when you change your clothes. When you decide after considering, fantasizing, so you then got up, you're fantasizing and you're saying, "Boy, I'm dead. I'm dead to this, I'm dead to that. I'm dead to that.
Now, it's not been my pattern. I've been struggling with this all week, but I am dead to this, I am dead to that. I'm dead to the other." He says, "Now, I will begin in the mind that you have started, to do the habit that you have started, to renew the mind so that what was traumatic now becomes more and more natural. You gonna find it more and more natural.
Now, let me ask a question. Let me ask 'cause maybe I'm--maybe I'm confused. Maybe I don't understand so I want you to help a brother out here, so help me out. When you took your shower this morning, will that be good for you 'til next Sunday? I don't wanna assume. 'Cause maybe your soap is different than my soap. Maybe your soap will keep you smelling good from this Sunday to next Sunday and you gonna smell good all week long, 'cause you just had a good shower today. I don't think so.
You're gonna shower every single day 'cause you wanna be clean every single day. But a lot of folk think 'cause they took a bath at church on Sunday, that's gonna keep 'em clean 'til next Sunday. It don't work like that. Every day you get up, you gotta set the clock to wake up to have the funeral in order to declare yourself to be dead to that which is outside of the will of God.
And then after that declaration, you take off the old, okay? Just to pick one, computer, I'm not gonna look at you today 'cause I've considered you to be dead to me with regard to that which is outside of the will of God.
Mouth, you're not gonna cuss today 'cause cussing you're dead to. And you declare it to be so. You shower yourself, confessing that, inviting heaven's view into your life. You declare what you are going to do. I'm going to speak righteousness, I'm going to speak peace, I'm going to speak the will of God.
You put on the new clothes and then God begins to kick in and shift the mind so that, over time, you are controlling it. It is no longer controlling you, because you are adopting a heavenly perspective.
how many of you have dogs? Okay, a bunch of you. When you first get that dog, that dog will poop any place it wants to. See, the dog is operating on its nature and the dog says, "When you gotta go, you gotta go." That's when the-- it didn't say it like that. It said, "Woof, woof, woof," but that's what it's saying.
When you gotta go, you gotta go. And so the dog stinks up the house because it had to. 'Cause it had to go. I mean, you can't just say, "Don't do that." It's part of the nature. It's gotta relieve itself and it will do it wherever it is convenient to do it because it has to.
So when you buy that dog, you begin a process of domestication. You wanna domesticate the animal. Why? 'Cause the animal is now in your house. See, it may have come off the street. But you wanna break it out of its street habits and let it know it ain't street up in here, up in here.
This is my crib, this is my place, this is my house, and I don't want you smelling up my house. Therefore, we're going to go through a pattern of changing your mind when you got to poop. So you begin this process of dog training.
You roll up the paper and when it starts to curl up, like it wants to do its thing, whack! Whack! And when it does its thing, whack, whack! I remember when my-- when I was growing up, my-- we had a bunch of dogs, al of 'em were named King.
When one King died, my dad brought another dog. That was King. When that King died, he brought another dog. That was King. King, King... Every dog was named King.
My father, when the dog pooped, would bring the dog over and put the dog's nose in it. Put the dog-- "Smell that. Smell that. Oh, you wanna poop but you don't want to smell? Well, what I'm gonna do, is I'm gonna make you feel about the smell the way I feel about the smell, 'cause I'm a-put your nose in it so you can not like it as much as I don't like it, so you can now think about it like I think about it.
And what I think about it is, I don't like it, don't want it, and I want you to feel the same way." So, he'd stick the dog's nose in it, he would hit him with the newspaper. After a period of time, there was a renewing of the mind. After a period of time, there was a shift in the thinking.
So, instead of it curling up and doing its business, it now went, Then it would go , scrapping on the door. "Let me up out of here. Let me up out of here. Let me up out of here 'cause I got to take care of my business."
What God is saying is he knows when you got saved you brought in that old stuff with you, but you're now in his house. It's called heavenly places and he doesn't want that smell up in his house.
And so what he does is he makes life miserable, inconvenient, until you feel about it like he feels about it, until he can get you to go whimpering and begin to change the way you think and domesticate you because you're looking at things from heaven's perspective, not from history's perspective.
And now, the house smells clean because you know the change has been made, because the mind has been adapted to heaven's point of view. A heavenly perspective changes the poop in your life forever.