Many years ago people used to talk about the importance of keeping our minds on heaven. This evidently led to people becoming so focused on the life that is to come that they neglected the life that now is. The great preacher D.L. Moody began to preach that the church had become “so heavenly minded that they were no earthly good.” Things like personal holiness, loving ones neighbor, and evangelism were out of sight and out of mind.
When the call came to stop being so heavenly minded, I’m afraid the pendulum has swung too far the other way. I believe the problem with the church now is that we are so earthly minded that we are no heavenly good. We are too wrapped up in our political parties, our sports teams, and our social events, and we rarely think about heaven. Because we are so earthly minded, we are not doing anything for the kingdom of heaven—we aren’t inviting people to church, sharing our faith, or reaching out to those in need. When we focus so much on the here and now, we are not mindful of the things that are eternal.
In Colossians 3:1-2 Paul wrote, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” Our minds need to be set above rather than here on earth. Our focus should be vertical rather than horizontal.
The Greek word that is translated as mind (or affection in the King James) means “to exercise the mind or to interest ones self.” We need to develop the habit of fixing our minds above. In his commentary on Colossians Peter Ruckman provided a list of things that are in heaven that we can think about, and thus begin to train our minds to be in heaven. We have loved ones in heaven; God’s throne is in heaven; our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is in heaven; God’s Word is forever settled in heaven; the place Jesus is preparing for us is in heaven; and the New Jerusalem will one day come down from heaven. When we think about these things, it can help us train our minds to leave this world and dwell in a better realm.
We typically look straight ahead, but when we are depressed or defeated we drop our gaze. Paul invites us to look up, to lift our gaze heavenward. With our feet planted on earth, let our minds drift upwards to heaven. Let our thoughts be found around the throne. Let our minds be seated in heaven’s parlor, not locked in earth’s cellar. Let us turn our eyes upon Jesus, and look full in His wonderful face; then the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.
We don’t want to be so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good, but neither do we want to be so earthly minded that we are no heavenly good. We want to strike that right balance, being heavenly minded so that we are both earthly and heavenly good.