Some time ago my wife and I flew to Europe from our home in South Africa. We first had to take a domestic flight from Durban to the international airport in Johannesburg. Everyone on that domestic flight was appropriately dressed for the blazing heat and oppressive humidity of midsummer—shorts, t-shirts, and sandals. We were wearing jeans, boots, long-sleeved tops, and were carrying sweaters and snow jackets.
We disembarked at the uncomfortably warm domestic terminal and we made our sticky, sweaty way to the international terminal. That’s when we started seeing more folk with the northern hemisphere in mind. It was easy to tell who was leaving and who was staying by their clothing. The travelers were not concerned about appearances at the airport because they would only be there for a few hours, and in a short while would be grateful for their warm clothes.
Why? Because they had set their minds on a European winter, not an African summer.
Can onlookers tell what your final destination is by the way you behave? Or do you live like this life is your final destination?
This is what the Apostle Paul addresses in Colossians 3:1-4
Four facts to keep in mind so that you can keep a heavenly mindset
1. Keep in mind your heavenly reality
Colossians 3:1 If [since] then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
Paul has just completed two chapters on the doctrine of our salvation and from chapter three proceeds with the outworking of this doctrine. If you believe the doctrine of the first two chapters…then live like it.
This belief impacts your speech, your prayer, your family, your work environment, and your evangelism.
2. Keep in mind your heavenly realm
Colossians 3:1-2 … seek the things that are above, …Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
The word “seek” could be translated as keep seeking, pursue, search after, deliberately focus your thoughts on something.
There are some things in life that don’t just happen to you, you have to seek them. No one just ends up serendipitously at the summit of Mount Everest. You have to decide to get there, and then pursue it with all your might.
When you set your mind on comfort, investments, education, fashion, food, career and vacation you are taking up Satan’s agenda for your life, not God’s. God wants you to set your mind on your final destination, not the sweaty airport of earth.
3. Keep in mind your heavenly relationship
Colossians 3:3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Your motives should be fueled by your relationship with Christ. We don’t become Christians so that we can have better families, feel great about ourselves, feel forgiven, get healed, or even to go to heaven.
We become Christians to get Christ.
John Piper writes:
God is the gospel….God is the final and highest gift that makes the good news good. Until people use the gospel to get to God, they use it wrongly.”
Jesus died so that we can get God! Do you live like you are satisfied in God? That is a heavenly mindset, not an earthly one.
Christian, your reason for living is to please Jesus. He is asking you to shift your values off the earthly and onto the heavenly. Will you do it? Paul didn’t invent this. Jesus said “If anyone comes to me and does not hate …[fill in what is most precious to you] …he cannot be my disciple.”
4. Keep in mind your heavenly reward
Colossians 3:4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Paul is not telling you to hate reward; he is advocating that you love heavenly reward instead of earthly reward. He’s not eschewing incentives, he’s offering one.
Remember Luke 12 when Jesus told the parable of the rich fool? Jesus concluded in verse 34: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
How do I set my mind on heavenly things? Give to causes that affect the kingdom of heaven. Volunteer time to serve God through the local church. Sacrifice some aspects of your hobby/sport/entertainment to free up money and time for the treasure of your heavenly priorities.
Imagine you gave your secretary a stationery allowance of $500 for the year, but she spends it on a $500 fountain pen for her personal use. No files, no stapler, no sticky-notes. Just her own fountain pen. That’s how you behave when you spend all God’s gifts on maximizing your own comfort instead of blessing others by being a good steward.
So pray for God to give you a heavenly mindset. Make deliberate choices in your life to prevent growing too attached to this life.
If we are a church full of heaven-set people, willing to make decisions that would be nonsensical except in the light of heavenly reality, realm, and reward, then when we share the gospel, others will know we believe it.