“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:2)
“Oh, he is so heavenly minded, he is of no earthly use!” the cynic snipes. We have all heard that charge, haven’t we? It’s an easy one to make and a hard one to defend. But is it ever true? In my experience both as a Christian and a pastor, I the think the reverse is a much more common problem. It’s my earthly mindset that limits my usefulness in the more real world.
What does heavenly mindedness look and feel like? How can I learn to think that way?
It begins first of all with the conviction that our relationship with Christ has radically changed our relationship to this passing world. (Col 3:4). This is the reason, Paul says, that we to set our minds above in the first place, “For,” he says, “you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Once a soul puts its trust in Christ, the old man and the old self-centered way of life are dealt a lethal blow. There is no going back. This world no longer holds the same attraction for the Christian. His soul has been born again for (from) another world. His heart, quite literally, has moved on.
Second, and closely related to the first, the Christian begins to think of His life as entirely caught up with Christ. “When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory (Col 3:4).” Paul likens the Christian’s relationship with Christ to a wife’s relationship to her husband. What a radical transformation this is. Soon, the single life is forgotten, and the two lives become forever intertwined. Life revolves around the marriage. The one cannot live without thinking about the other — as a sort of life-long reference point. Paul put it well, “For me to live is Christ,” or to put it another way: “Life means Christ to me!”
In the third place, the heavenly minded man puts to death the godless passions of a dying world (Col 3:5-8). He will afford sexual immorality, impurity, life-controlling passions, evil desires, and the endless desire for material gain no quarter.
Finally, the heavenly minded man commits himself to the imitation of God and the kind of holy, beloved, compassionate, humble, kind, meek, and patient heart that reflects the temper of our new heavenly home (Col 3:10, 12-13).