Being Heavenly Minded

Being Heavenly Minded
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Colossians 3:1-4

Throughout my years in ministry, I’ve occasionally heard the warning from someone of the dangers of being too heavenly-minded.  Their warning is that if we become too heavenly-minded that we’ll be no earthly good.  There are some who use that mindset to justify their focus on this life and all they can gain here.  But as C.S. Lewis once said, the problem with most Christians is not that they think about heaven too much but that they think about heaven too little.  He went on to say that “If you read history, you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next.”

Paul is calling the Colossian believers to higher thinking and a greater focus on what lies beyond this world.  Too often this world is all that captures our attention.  I know that we can’t help but hear, see, and feel all that is going on around us in this world.  We can’t help but be moved by tragedy and troubles.  We can’t help but be disturbed by events and circumstances of life.  But that can’t be our primary focus.  I’ll be honest with you today, as our world gets worse and worse and life grows more troubled, heaven becomes greater in my thoughts.

I believe that we ought to be more heavenly-minded than we are.  One reason I say that is because heaven is where we’ll spend eternity.  This world is just a temporary dwelling place.  It’s only a dressing room for eternity, as my dad used to say.  I’m so thankful that heaven is a real place.  Not make-believe; not wishful thinking; not empty hopes, but real.  The older I get the greater is my longing to go there.  Paul wrote to the church at Philippi telling them to depart and be with Christ is something far better.

Paul writes in verse 2 of our text to “set your affection on things above”.  The word “set” involves a continuous, ongoing action.  We are to keep on setting our affections on things above, not on this world.  The idea of the word “affection” is our thoughts, our minds, and our attitudes.  Jesus said in Matthew 6:21-“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”.  The more we treasure thoughts of heaven the more our hearts will long for heaven.  I want to share some reasons that ought to cause us to be more heavenly-minded.

Paul writes that we are to “seek those things which are above”.  When we seek something, we endeavor to find it or gain it.  We are to make heavenly things our desire.  We long for heaven and the main reason is because our Savior is there.  Thoughts of heaven’s wonders and beauty are marvelous to consider.  But they will all fade in comparison to seeing Him.  In Revelation 21-22 John gives a tremendous picture of Heaven, but in chapter 22:4 he caps it all off when he says, “And they shall see His face”.  Billy Graham once said, “I long to meet not only my loved ones in heaven but also the prophets and the apostles and the mother of our Lord.  But my greatest expectation is to gaze into the eyes of Jesus, who knows me by name.”  Don’t you long for that day?  There is an old song that says, “What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see.  And I look upon His face, the one who saved me by His grace.”   That’s one reason why we ought to be more heavenly-minded—because our Savior is there.

Jesus described it as the Father’s house.  That sounds like home to me.  It’s not just where we’ll live forever, but it is where our citizenship is.  Philippians 3:20-“For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.”  Vance Havner once said that Christians are not citizens of earth heading for heaven, but that we are citizens of heaven traveling through this world.  We are different according to verse 3.  We are dead to the things of this old world and alive in Christ.  There is the old saying that “Home is where the heart is.”  If that is true, then heaven is where our hearts ought to be, not on the things of this world.  We often live our lives as though we’ll be here forever.  The fact is our home is over there.  I’m thankful for the house I live in now.  I’m thankful to live in America, but all of this isn’t home for me.  Another old song reminds us, “This world is not my home, I’m just passing through.”  How we need to keep that in mind these days.

Our loved ones are there.  They have gone on before us and are waiting for us over there.  One by one they have slipped from this earthly life and have been carried to heaven.  I have more interest now in heaven than I’ve ever had in my life.  My Saviour is there, my home is there, my loved ones are there, and more and more, my heart is there.  I’m looking forward to the day when we’ll see them again.  The church at Thessalonica had concerns about their loved ones who had died.  They were wondering about where they were and what would be ahead for them.  Paul said there would come a time at the Rapture when we’d all be caught up together in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  Then he said, “And so shall we ever be with the Lord”.  What a time in heaven it will be when we all get home.  John when describing heaven said in Revelation 21:1-“and there was no more sea”.  Think about where John was as he wrote those words.  He was on the isle of Patmos, a Roman penal colony out in the Aegean Sea.  Surrounded by the sea, he was far from home; far from family; far from relationships.  That sea separated them and him, but John says in heaven there will be no more sea—no more separation.   There will be no more sad goodbyes in heaven.

Paul wrote in our text that “When Christ shall appear, then we shall appear with Him in glory”.  Philippians 3:21 says, “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body.”  Then in 1 John 3:2-“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”

When John wrote of heaven in the book of Revelation chapters 21-22, he spoke of many things that will be there, like a street of gold, walls of jasper, gates of pearl, river of life, tree of life, and all the splendors of heaven.  He also wrote about some things that won’t be there.  Revelation 21:4-“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

Right now, we live in bodies that experience pain, sorrow, sadness, hurt, and death.  But one day He will change these bodies to be fashioned like His glorious body.  We’ll have a glorified body that will never experience these things again.  Paul said in Romans that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.  We all groan over life.  We groan with life’s problems, pain, and sorrows, but there’s coming a day when we’ll have a new body.  Do you long for that?

These things ought to cause us to be more heavenly-minded.  Heaven is our true home.  Going there is my hope; that’s my comfort.  Nothing this world has to offer attracts me like that.  If all we focus on are the things of this life, we’ll be discouraged and defeated.  What a difference it will make if we are more heavenly-minded.

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