“Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth.” (Colossians 3:2)
“Too other worldly for any earthly good!” That’s the phrase some have used to describe Christians who have a heavenly focus. Another derisional and descriptive phrase sometimes used is “pie in the sky, by and by.” In fact, some Christians do present that persona, and in part they base their perspective on this verse in Colossians and others like it.
Let’s just ask the question: Is there something wrong with this perspective? It is somehow evil? The answer is a flat: No. Being heavenly minded is a good thing. Christians should be looking forward to heaven and thinking about it. In fact, probably most of us are not heavenly minded enough.
Second question: What is the emphasis Paul is making in this verse? Is he suggesting that we check out of the world and enter into a kind of “heavenly stupor?” The context of the verses around this one suggests that this is not his emphasis, because he is talking overall about how Christians should live in this world.
“Set your minds on what is above” does not mean that we are to walk around with our heads in the clouds, oblivious to what is going on around us in the world. Paul certainly did not do that. It means rather that we are to derive our values, our understanding of what is truly important, not from the values of this earth but from the values of heaven. In other words, we are to live on this earth motivated and driven by heavenly rather than earthly values, because that is part of our witness to this world. Thus “set your minds” is, in reality, a call to a heavenly and an earthly integrity.
As you move through the world today and bear witness to Jesus, keep your mind set on the values that are derived from heaven. That will help others around you know that your life is about more than this present earthly reality.
Help us, Lord, to be faithful to the values of Your heart. Amen.