What does it look like to be living a “Heavenly-minded life”? I’m going to get to this question, so be thinking about it as you read, but first, we need to ask a fundamental question: are we living Heavenly-minded lives? Well, no one is doing it perfectly, and to be brutally honest, it is very rare to meet a person who is living with Heaven in the front of their minds. Why is this?
Excuses– We make excuses such as: “Oh, I have trouble remembering things” or “Well, my life is so busy that I can’t be always thinking about everything.” If this is you, you’re not alone, because I am the King of Excuses. Seriously, I could think up an excuse for almost anything (not a good trait to have). However, one day, it won’t matter what excuse you make, because it will be too late to change what you’ve done in life. I realize that what I just said makes it sound like those who aren’t living Heavenly-minded lives won’t get into Heaven or something along the lines of that. I’m not saying that, but I am saying that giving God half of your Sunday each week is simply not what living a Heavenly-minded life looks like. If you continue in the pattern of making excuses, you will find that you have done nothing to advance the Kingdom of God and that you’ve not lived your earthly life wholly devoted to the one who offers you eternal life.
We don’t care– Perhaps you don’t feel the need to make excuses because you are happy where you are spiritually. Let me just tell you now… If you are fine with staying at the spiritual point that you are currently at, you are in a very dangerous position. Spiritual complacency is one of the greatest banes in the churches of America. However, if you don’t care about growing spiritually, then nothing that I will write can ever change that.
Living a Heavenly-minded life isn’t easy– Maybe the reason that you aren’t living every second of every day with Heaven in mind, is because it is crazy hard. Thinking about something all the time is actually much harder than one might think. It takes a conscious effort to win “the war of the mind”. The thing is, it is easy to think about the distractions in life (i.e. Facebook, Dr. Who, Call of Duty, etc.), but it’s not easy to constantly be remembering Heaven. Honestly, I believe that this is because we have an adversary who is intensely making every effort to prevent us from thinking about Heaven, but not just that; our flawed human nature inhibits our ability to live heavenly-minded lives. If it stopped there, then my challenge to you would be impossible. Thankfully, it doesn’t stop there. We have a Heavenly Father that we can go to and seek assistance in the war of the mind.
Perhaps you have heard the expression “too Heavenly-minded to be of any earthly good.” Let me just say that if you have ever been accused of this, I congratulate you, because this is something that I would love to be “accused” of. However, I fear that not many will fall into that category. Sadly many of us are “too earthly-minded to be of any Heavenly good”.
Paul writes in Philippians 3:12-14:
“Not that I have already attained or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching for those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
I’d like to take up just a few more moments of your time and focus on a few different parts of this passage. The first part that I want to focus on is the phrase “press on”. This is neither past tense nor future tense; it is present tense, implying an ongoing struggle to press on toward the goal [Heaven]. Then, one of my favorite parts of this entire passage, Paul says “… forgetting those things which are behind and reaching for those things which are ahead…” This, in particular, speaks to me; we have cast off the “old man” and we no longer have to live in the regret of our past mistakes. One commentator states “Paul could not obliterate the past from his memory, but he refused to let his past obstruct his progress toward his goal.” This statement is also in the present tense, once again implying an ongoing struggle. Finally, as this article winds down, we come to the last focus point: “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Paul isn’t working toward salvation; he is working toward the Prize of the upward call of God.
So ask yourself this: “Am I pressing toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus and not letting my past mistakes obstruct that onward striving toward the goal?
One of my favorite examples of living a heavenly-minded life in literature is Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress. When faced with various hardships, temptations, and trials, Christian keeps his eye on the “Celestial City”, pursuing it with a never-ending fervor. We need to seriously examine our lives and see if we have this type of diligence and perseverance; constantly in pursuit of the goal.
Okay, let’s review a few simple things to remember:
1. Excuses may get you out of some things on Earth, but they don’t fly in Heaven
2. Living a Heavenly-minded life will be completely impossible if you are simply okay with where you are spiritual.
3. I know, and God knows that it is hard to live a heavenly-minded life, but Jesus never said that following Him would be easy (in fact He told us that it would cost us everything), and He is always there to help us; we just need to ask.
4. You can’t turn your thoughts toward the future if they’re stuck in the past
5. Press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus
You’ve made it to the end of the article and hopefully, have been challenged by it. You know what you need to do, and if there’s something holding you back, something perhaps that is dominating your time, thoughts, and actions, you need to cleanse yourself of it. Again I say, you know what you need to do, so do it.