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Don’t be so heavenly minded that you’re no earthly good…Really?!

2011 January 20

A popular cliché in the church is, “don’t be so heavenly minded that you’re no earthly good.” I’ve never liked that saying because when I read the Bible I am instructed to “set my mind on things above and not on things on the earth.” We need to intentionally set our gaze on heaven. We don’t need to worry about being too heavenly minded because most of us naturally think about earthly things. Think about it. In the last 24 hours were your thoughts filled with things found in list one or two?

List One – Earthly Things:

  • Bills, money, debt, or budgets.
  • Work, tasks, to-do lists, emails, voice-mails, etc.
  • Doing the dishes, laundry, grocery shopping, and dinner plans.

List Two – Heavenly Things:

  • The Kingdom of God and His righteousness.
  • The Word of God.
  • Angels, the Throne Room, the reality of Heaven.

Some Clichés We Should Just Throw Out

I don’t know what you have been thinking about but most of my thoughts were list one type and no one had to remind me to be earthly minded!

Some clichés contain truth and would serve us well if we really believed and acted upon them. But this cliché on the other hand, “don’t be so heavenly minded that you’re no earthly good,” does not encourage us in the truth and we would be better not to obey it! It does not help us accomplish the goal of “on Earth as it is in Heaven” but instead helps us with our “on Earth as it is in Church” busy work.

C.S Lewis wrote,

“If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisley 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.”

Now why couldn’t that be the common phrase we hear in church? Maybe because it’s not common to think like this (and it is a bit long to be a cliché).

I realize that churches already have a problem finding volunteers to accomplish their goals so warning the few people they do have to not to be too heavenly minded makes sense. It’s like telling employees at the office not to spend time on Facebook because it is an unproductive use of their time and there is more work to do than time available (and no, I don’t think Heaven will be like Facebook).

True, our time here is limited and we will be in heaven forever so why not focus on what needs to be done on earth while we are able to? Well because we tend to assume what needs accomplished on the earth instead of praying, “Your will be done. On Earth as it is in Heaven.” And guess what, we need to know how it is in Heaven so we have a proper model to imitate. Then we will have something valuable to pursue as ambassadors for Christ.

So let us continue to set our affections and mind on things above so we may be of some earthly good. Let me know what you think about this? How can setting our mind on Heaven help us with our work here on the Earth?

About Joshua Monen

Josh is born-again believer and the founder of Beyond Cliches. He lives in the country north of Battle Ground, WA with his wife and kids. Josh was a big time drug addict and small time drug dealer before Jesus saved him in 2004. He's been clean and sober since and is still in awe of God's amazing grace.

12 Responses Post a comment
  1. January 24, 2011

    Made me think of:

    Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

  2. Josh permalink
    January 25, 2011

    That’s a perfect example and a good word to meditate on, “you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary.”

  3. Camilia permalink
    January 2, 2012

    I think the phrase refers more towards, not forgetting where you came from Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and cone short of the glory of God, even Jesus the son of the most high God washed feet! But He still had an earthly purpose, some people get so religious the began to persecute, instead of prophesy! We have a purpose on the earth before we leave and it’s not just to live, die, n.get to heaven!

    • Joshua Monen permalink
      January 2, 2012

      Hi Camilia, thank you for sharing. I agree with you that our purpose is not just to live, die and then go to heaven. And yes, Jesus did have a purpose here on the earth. When he began his public ministry He said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” To me that indicates a very close connection with heaven and earth. I don’t think it has to be one or the other. I believe the mission is contained in our Lord’s prayer “thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Thanks for sharing and good to meet you!

  4. March 3, 2012

    I completely agree. As a matter of fact, I am preaching on this very subject Sunday morning, out of Colossians 3:2.

    • Joshua Monen permalink
      March 3, 2012

      Thanks Anthony, where do you preach at? Hope your sermon goes well. :)

  5. October 24, 2012

    Awesome! I disagree with that cliche as well. It’s just like I learned recently that if you cant figure out God’s plan for your life your not reading the Bible. The answer ‘Go out unto ALL the world and PREACH the gospel to EVERY creature.’ doesn’t sound to me like mystery or good idea, but a command.
    It is also the focus of Jesus ministry ‘REPENT for the kingdom of God is at hand’, and he sought, saved, healed and loved the lost. (‘The healthy need no doctor’)
    Sounds to me like thats a call to ALL believers to minister, to seek and save the lost to share our faith as we love God and one another.

  6. Scott permalink
    December 12, 2012

    The point of the comment “Dont be so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good” simply means to not overspiritualize everything. It’s not complicated. Christians who are casting out Red light Demons & binding & gagging & placing Hedges, standing in “gaps” calling them in from the North, South, East, West, focusing on their “Gifts” rather than actually being effective in reaching the lost & Needing to pray from a word from God whether they should attend Church.

    The devil loves it when he can get Christians chasing their tails, being inward focused, religous & weird. It’s then that we dont notice our hurting neighbor that needs a hand, being lead by God to speak into a strangers life (without a glory cloud or Gold dust falling from the heavens…or rafters) or the Local Church that could really use more help but we’d rather say we are call to “intercede” from home?!

    Let’s throw out the “we all are a different part of the body rubbish” and using that as a reason for being strange. Let’s pray for God’s strength,leading & prompting. Let’s pray for the lost that God would use us in impacting their lives (not weirding them out) & let’s stop over spiritualizing everything!
    God put you on planet Earth for a reason.

  7. December 31, 2012

    Scott, I agree there are many Christians who get so focused on the spiritual realm that they lose sight of the natural. But it’s also true that many Christians completely ignore the spiritual realm and try to simply do good works based on their own human ability.

    Personally, I don’t think it’s one or the other (spiritually minded or earthly minded). We can be completely immersed in heavenly things (like Jesus and the Apostle Paul) and still be effective in practical matters here on the earth. Col. 3:2 says, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”

    One of the reasons we’re to set our mind on heavenly things is so we know how to do ministry here. Jesus taught us to pray for His Kingdom to come and for His will to be done here as it is in heaven. If we don’t know what’s going on in heaven then how do we know how to respond to situations here on earth? But if we see, for example, that there’s no sickness in heaven we can boldly come against sickness here on earth because our mind was set on heavenly things.

    So I agree that we shouldn’t lock ourselves in a closet and pray 24/7. But I don’t think ignoring the spiritual or heavenly realm is the answer either.

  8. Jason Brown permalink
    September 13, 2013

    Josh,
    I just want to tell you, that you have a very powerful testimony. Also, you hit it right on the head when you said that God instructs us to “Set our minds and hearts on things above”, and there are many other scriptures that confirm what God is instructing us to do as Christians. For instance, He says “I have called you out of this world, so no longer conform to the ways of this world”. God tells us many times throughout his word of these things. As Christians God says to not lean on our own understanding, God means our understanding of right and wrong, to hold ourselves to the measure and standards of God, not of man, not of this world.

    • September 15, 2013

      Hi Jason, thank you for your comment. And I love that scripture, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Agree or Disagree: Don’t be so heavenly minded, that you are no earthly good | Kevin Olenick

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