Therefore, if you were raised with Christ, look for the things that are above where Christ is sitting at God’s right side. Think about the things above and not things on earth. -Colossians 3:1-2

When my family first moved into our house in Ankeny, my kids were delighted by the discovery that the kitchen windows overlooking the backyard meant they could play outside by themselves while I cooked dinner or did the dishes. “Stay where I can see you,” I would instruct them when they went out.

They did not always stay where I could see them from the window. If my kids stayed out of sight too long, I would go out to find them and remind them: “Stay where I can see you.”

After a few weeks of frustration when they got out of range of the window where I stood, I had a revelation. My kids, then six and four, couldn’t imagine exactly where I was able to see from the kitchen window. I changed my instructions. “Stay where you can see me at the window.”

The change was immediate. Unable to put themselves into my head, the kids were perfectly able to notice their own line of sight and keep me in it. When they knew who to look at, they stayed right where I could always see them. With their focus on mom at the window, the kids were safe in the backyard.

Each of us makes choices every day about where we put our focus. Indeed, we often have to shift our focus throughout the day– from getting ready in the morning to a conversation with a family member to a challenge at work, and so on. We all know how disastrous it can be if we fail to focus on the right things at the right time.

When it comes to our focus as children of God, I think back to my children’s focus as they played in the backyard. So long as they kept themselves where they could see me, they stayed in the right places. And though we know God watches over us no matter where we wander, everything in life is in a better place when we keep looking to God. As Paul wrote to the Colossian Christians, we should look for the things that are with Christ.

What things are those? As the book of Colossians continues after the verses at the beginning of this devotion, Paul reminds the Christians to avoid anger, greed, slander, and more– these are the things of earth. Instead, when we look for the things that are with Christ, we see kindness, compassion, humility, patience, love, peace, and gratitude. When we stay focused on those things, we are always in the right place.

Children of God, stay where you can see God. Look for the things of Christ. Keep your focus where it belongs– on Jesus.