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On Being Heavenly Minded and Earthly Good

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On Being Heavenly Minded and Earthly Good

John 15: 12-17 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other. (NIV)

I woke up this morning with the Spirit impressing upon me the old expression of not being so heavenly minded that you are of no earthly good. I did a simple Google search and was amazed at the negative response to this phrase from well intended Christians. One of the recurring rationales for dismissing this notion was the use of these Scriptures:

 

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3: 1-3 (NIV)

 

Excellent verses but I think they really miss the mark and quite frankly define the expression. That you would go find Scripture you think supports your view instead of dealing with the person in front of you. The fact is that these Colossian verses are not instructing us to literally be hidden from each other! The subsequent context in the third chapter of Colossians deals with the things that belong to our earthly nature. Things such as lust, greed and all forms of idolatry. Being of earthly good is not referring to that. It is referring to how our life impacts others around us. It is referring to the relationships that make up our life. Certainly our primary relationship is always with God but remember that the Gospels show us the life of Jesus for a reason.

 

Jesus was nothing if not relational. His ministry was filled not only with miracles and deity but also with relationships He established, nurtured, and maintained. Consider just the key verses today. These twelve disciples were not just a means to an end for our Savior. They were His friends. He loved them and cared about them. Were there times He went away alone to pray? Absolutely. But there were also times He took those closest to Him with Him.

In fact, how did Jesus say that people will even know we are a Christian? Are they to know us by our doctrine? Or how well we defend our church? Or how many times per week we fast, pray, or read the Bible? While these are all noble pursuits, they are not what will define us according to Jesus.

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13: 34-35 (NIV)

I think sometimes we can fall into the trap of thinking that mere act of dealing with each other somehow taints who we are in Christ instead of defining who we are in Christ. Of what use is our Christianity if it does not positively impact the people God has put into our life? And I don't mean impact them by reciting Scripture to them. I don't mean impact them by assuring them we are praying for them. And yes, praying for the people in our lives and reflecting the Word of God to them are extremely important but so is being human with them. So is supporting them. So is crying with them, laughing with them, and spending time with them. As in most things in life, it is the balance that is healthy. Heavenly minded? Absolutely! But earthly good? Absolutely!

Let us consider Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. These were also friends of Jesus according to Scripture:

So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, "Lord, your dear friend is very sick." John 11: 3 (NLT)

Not only was Lazarus a dear friend but here is how much of a friend:

But his disciples objected. "Rabbi," they said, "only a few days ago the people in Judea were trying to stone you. Are you going there again?" John 11: 8 (NLT)

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Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to (more...)
 
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