Paul said it well in the 3rd chapter of his letter to the Colossians :
1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (NIV)
Then, after a list of some earthly things to avoid, by way of for example, he adds this:
9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. (NIV)
To be sure, the passage from Luke is cliché easy. The rich fool focused all of his time, energy and effort on the things of this world when he should have focused on the things of God. Yes, he stressed for success, and you will notice that he did succeed as far as this world is concerned. So, we conclude, focus on the things of God…but there is the rub. What exactly are the things of God?
Someone might say, “You mean good works, like mission work, telling the good news, doing good for others, loving neighbor and forgiving, that sort of thing.” No……..well, that is important, but it is the cart. We need the horse out front to pull it.
Paul said it well: (you) have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge (understanding of the mind and heart) in the image of its creator. Why is it so many people have a hard time with this? This message of being remade into God’s image has been the Biblical message since Job, since Abraham since the garden. Look it up. We are to become like Christ—yes, you, too. You and me. To think like him, feel like him, understand and believe like him: to become like him, and then, really only then, also to do like him. What would Jesus do? A good question. But a better one might be what would Jesus think? How would he feel about this? And why don’t I think and feel the same way?
Oh, this is just the tip of the iceberg, but before I go on forever, let me suggest this. What does it mean to be a person after God’s own heart? It means that person’s heart and mind are conformed to God so they perceive the world even as God sees and hears and knows the world to be—as he created it. It is a person in whom is no deceit (self-deception). And it is a person who then responds to the world as God does: with grace and love and understanding.
This “Imitation of Christ” as Thomas called it is where all of our time, energy and effort belongs because those of us who are people after God’s own heart are the ones who are rich toward God, indeed.