Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Heavenly Minded

As I read my devotional this morning I thought of an old expression that I know I must have heard in person, because it was well before emails and internet. It goes like this, “Don’t be so heavenly minded that you are of no earthly good.” While it is old enough and its origin uncertain that I don’t know what was originally intended, I can easily imagine that it may have been used to tell someone to get their head out of the clouds and to get real about what is going on down here. It could even have been used as a criticism of Christians who are so supposedly sold on God and their hope in heaven that they seem to lose track of the reality of life. It may have seemed quite clever, but is it biblical?

C.S. Lewis, in “Mere Christianity,” wrote “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.” And he was quite right when our focus here it is on things which will pass and ultimately do not matter or on managing and surviving with varying expectations of enjoyment and self-satisfaction. But the reality is, that a wholly here focus is living in denial of an other than here reality. It is living as if God does not exist or as if He does not care to involve Himself in the affairs of man.

The Bible says, “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:2, NASB95) God has both declared and demonstrated His love for man and His desire to have a relationship with His creation. He sent His Son in the form of man in order to draw man back to Himself through the forgiveness of his sins and the gift of eternal life. And He has proven His desire to be continually present with His creation by sealing and indwelling every believer with His Holy Spirit. This is our God who engages Himself in our lives and to whom we are to continually look in worship and for guidance.

And He has left us here for a season and a purpose until such time that we enter His presence and enjoy Him fully forever. During this season He has called us to trust Him in all things, and in order to do this we have to look to Him in all things. Looking to Him in all things requires that we have hearts and minds that are heavenly minded (God-directed) in order that He might use us to accomplish His purposes here on earth. To do otherwise is like trying to build a complex construction without any instructions, and to be quite honest, even missing the most critical parts.

Living with our eyes set on Christ strengthens us for the stuff here which can so easily prove discouraging and keeps us from that which can become so easily wasted. Living with our trust in God, growing out of our getting to know Him more and more, both keeps our hope for the things above fresh and equips us for that which He has here below. So, let’s turn that phrase upside down by growing in our heavenly mindedness as we watch what good God does here on earth.

“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 the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:1–3, NASB95)

“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” (Colossians 3:12–17, NASB95)

Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (9/24)

Live first and foremost in My Presence. Gradually you will become more aware of Me than of people and places around you. This awareness will not detract from your relationships with others. Instead, it will increase your ability to give love and encouragement to them. My Peace will permeate your words and demeanor. You will be active in the world, yet one step removed from it. You will not be easily shaken, because My enveloping Presence buffers the blow of problems.

This is the path I have set before you. As you follow it wholeheartedly, you experience abundant Life and Peace.

“How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! O Lord, they walk in the light of Your countenance. In Your name they rejoice all the day, and by Your righteousness they are exalted.” (Psalm 89:15–16, NASB95)

“I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” (Psalm 16:8, NASB95)

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;” (2 Peter 1:2, NASB95)

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