We are looking today at the subject of forgiveness. To forgive a person who has hurt you deeply may be the greatest challenge you ever face and the greatest gift you ever give. Imagine standing right next to a hurdle on a racetrack. You are right up against it. You...
Our car rolled to a stop on the side of the highway. The difference between 55 mph and 0 mph was startling. Inside and out, our car looked to be in perfect working order—but now it couldn’t move.
I watched my Mr. Fix-It lift the hood and investigate. His answer was sure: All the right liquids were in all the wrong places. Our car had lost its ability to separate what mattered and for what purpose.
It made me think of this cliché: “You’re so heavenly minded you’re no earthly good.”
Five Ways a Heavenly Mindset Leads to Earthly Good
God intends for a heavenly mindset to mobilize us to act in faith while we’re still on earth, not to live stalled-out lives because we’ve mixed up our purpose while we wait for our tow into eternity.
The connection between heavenly-mindedness and earthly good is strong in Scripture:
1. A heavenly mindset leads to glorifying God.
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth…And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus. (Colossians 3:2, 17)
Paul opens this beloved passage with a perspective fixed on heavenly, eternal things. He then tells us that as a result of this heavenly-mindedness, we are to:
- Put off the old
- Put on the new self
- Be ruled by the peace of Christ
- Encourage one another
- Be thankful
- Do everything in the name of Christ
All of our earthly activities, both words and deeds, can be carried out with thankfulness and a godly attitude because of the reality of Christ.
2. A heavenly mindset helps us embrace what life is really about.
They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. (1 Timothy 6:18-19)
In “Set Your Mind on Things Above,” Pastor Colin Smith illustrates that treasuring eternity helps us see what life is really about. He points out that if we all played a part in a theatrical production—some as princes and some as paupers—what we played wouldn’t matter when we got off stage. Our real lives would matter.
We’re going to spend much (much) more time in eternity with Christ than we are on this earth. Our real lives are likewise so much more than just what happens in these passing years. When we begin to treasure our real lives and see how life is really about building into eternity, we are much more generous and ready to be rich in good works.
3. A heavenly mindset compels us to encourage one another.
Holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus…encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. (Hebrews 3:1-13, NIV)
Sin’s deceitfulness threatens to make us hard toward evil, each other, and ourselves. We lose hope and lose sight of our purpose when we fall prey to it. Fixing our thoughts on Jesus shields us from this by keeping our heavenly calling and hope in mind. Remembering his faithfulness keeps our hearts soft so we can be firm in Christ and encourage each other to glory in him too.
4. A heavenly mindset urges us to be holy.
Set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy. (1 Peter 1:13-15)
A heavenly mind is compelled to do earthly good because goodness is part of holiness. We live set apart unto God knowing that the revelation of Christ is going to happen. Keeping that in mind, we have hope and want to share God’s grace until he returns.
5. A heavenly mindset helps us endure.
Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
Christ is our ultimate example of being heavenly-minded for earthly good. While he was on earth, his focus was on the will of the Father, God’s eternal person and character—so much so that Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).
With this eternal perspective of who God is and God’s greater purposes, Jesus sincerely loved those around him. Jesus took the time to have real conversations and listen. He healed many. He endured through temptation and hardship, and he died to save us!
When we’re weary and shaken and want to quit, as Paul describes in Hebrews 12, we are encouraged to persist because of what’s set before us. Having a heavenly mindset gives us such joy that we are willing to endure too.
Keep in Mind What’s Lasting
A significant aspect of the “good news” for believers is that we get to live eternally in close relationship with God himself. Jesus charged us with sharing this good news and, by the Holy Spirit, he lives in close relationship with us now.
This heavenly, eternal reality is the good we are to share in word and in deed while on earth. Our God-given purpose involves building into and training for glory, starting today. In the end, that’s what a heavenly mindset is: keeping in mind what is lasting—an eternity enjoying Jesus—and therefore living out what is certain to end with thankfulness, endurance, holiness, and a fixed gaze upon him.