Skip to main content

Too heavenly minded

 "Don't be so heavenly minded that you're of no earthly good"  
This saying gets under my skin.
It sounds so simple that it's easy to nod in agreement  without actually thinking about what it means.   Which is the problem with most "Christian-isms" rattled off by well meaning Christians everywhere.
Is it possible to be too heavenly minded?

This is what C. S. Lewis had to say on the topic in  Mere Christianity:
"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. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. "

 Col. 3:1-4: “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”

When it comes to our focus here on this earth ,as Christians, we should follow the example of the one that we claim to be followers of.    Jesus himself kept his focus unwaveringly on the Father and His will.  I think Christ's example would define  " heavenly minded" as  an intimate relationship and continual communion with God.  It is in that relationship, based on truth and revealed knowledge of who God is, that God's spirit lives and moves through us compelling us to see the world with His eyes and interact with the world according to his heart.   
   When we surrender our will to His , we become a new creation, not just a little more  morally refined.   

If you look carefully at the people who have had the most Kingdom bringing, eternity altering, life giving impact in the world they were the people who had their focus set surely and absolutely on the things of Heaven.    
It is when we become distracted and deceived by the "wisdom of the world" that we become no heavenly or earthly good.     If the devil can't convince you to do bad, he'll keep you busy  doing "good" with no heavenly purpose.  

Having a heavenly mindset isn't spending our time pondering some fluffy clouded place where souls float around  while we walk blindly through this life.  On the contrary it is living and loving in this world with our own hearts beating in tune with God's and walking carefully following His lead.   
There is a symphony being beautifully orchestrated throughout creation and throughout history.  If we keep our ears finely tuned and our eyes steadily focused on the conductor that same tune will play through our finger tips.   It is when we take our eyes of the conductor that we stop hearing the music of heaven and unknowingly start to play something foreign and faltering.   

 My affections and my eyes are on my Savior who ascended and sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven.  I live in the hope ,that is in heaven, which is Christ Jesus alone.      Seeking God, and the things of his kingdom, continually and passionately, is crucial for a believers to live this life according to the call he has lovingly and purposefully placed on each one of us.  The truth is I have another home ,and this life  is my  journey there.   

"The only way to be obedient to “the heavenly vision” is to give our utmost for His highest— our best for His glory. This can be accomplished only when we make a determination to continually remember God’s vision. But the acid test is obedience to the vision in the details of our everyday life— sixty seconds out of every minute, and sixty minutes out of every hour, not just during times of personal prayer or public meetings."  Oswald Chambers

When we take our eyes off of the Author and Perfecter of our faith they drift down onto ourselves and the world around us. We so easily slip into idolatry.  We begin to worship our own achievements, possessions, personal holiness, and moral development.   We begin to make decisions based on human common sense, societal norms, and political agendas rather than with the wisdom of heaven and the perspective of eternity.   

Consider some of the radical men and women who could have been , and probably were, accused of being too heavenly minded.   
George Muller - spent several hours a day in prayer as he trusted God to provide for the  117 schools he established and 10,024 orphans he cared for in his lifetime...long before it was fashionable to do either.   
 David Wilkerson, Jonathon Edwards, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Hudson Taylor, Horatio Spafford, Amy Carmichael, William Wilberforce, Corrie Ten Boom, Joni Tada,  Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand are just a few that come to mind....the list goes on and on.  
The Bible  is full of heavenly minded ordinary individuals used by God in extreme ways to fulfill His purpose. 

In fact, I think we should be praying that God  raise up ordinary men and women in our generation who are so completely consumed by and enamored with the things of heaven that in a worldly sense they are completely useless.  They are ruined for anything but God's purpose alone.

" Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.  Paul (Romans 12:2 NIV)

"Do not become so well adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.  Instead, fix your attention on God.  You'll be changed from the inside out.  Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it.  Unlike the culture around you always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you"  Paul (Romans 12:2 The message)

"God deliberately chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise.  And he chose those who are powerless to shame those who are powerful."
Paul (1 Corinthians 1:27)

Jesus replied "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it : 'love your neighbor as yourself'.  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments"  (Matthew 22:37-40)

It just occurred to me that  "heavenly minded" could be viewed as  synonymous with being "extremist".  I could try to defend or describe the differences between the two but I think instead I'll own the term.  
In a world that has a constantly shifting definition of extreme (and what extremes are considered culturally acceptable) while it claims to value and take pride in all things moderate, I think I'm ok with being extreme.

It's true.
I am an extreme sinner.  In my own strength I'm an extreme screw up.

I have an extremely merciful God who , in His unmoderated love, came in the flesh and went to the most extreme lengths to provide a way back into an immoderate relationship and extreme reconciliation with Him.
Because of this utterly extreme exchange..I am now living under His extravagant grace, exorbitant forgiveness, excessive power, and transcendent love.

Because of that, I can live a purpose propelled, peace filled, abundant, radical, and extreme life here and now.  I can be empowered to love in extreme and irrational ways.  
I suppose by definition that would make me an extremist...and I wouldn't want it any other way.    

So don't give it another thought if someone warns you that you are too heavenly minded...just smile and know you must be doing something right.  
 It's hard to run the race well without the finish line in mind.   


Popular posts from this blog


What your Church needs from you. A letter to the big, messy, adoptive family.

One year with Ray.