Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. —Colossians 3:2-3
I remember when I was a kid waiting for Christmas.
Everything about the season would raise my anticipation to fever pitch.
I specifically remember one night when I slept in the den by the Christmas tree. My parents left the tree lights on all night long and every time I woke up during the night I would look at the glowing tree and drift back to sleep with a smile on my face and growing excitement in my heart. When I woke up the next morning I thought it was Christmas day.
But it was the day before Christmas! Argggghh! Be still my soul! You can make it through one more day.
Looking back, the anticipation of Christmas was almost as much fun as the day itself. It makes me think about longing for the joys of heaven. The longing itself is good.
Not everyone thinks it helpful to focus on the future. They’ve bought into the old adage that people who do are “so heavenly minded they’re of no earthly good.” On the contrary, I’m persuaded that we will never be of much use in this life until we’ve developed a healthy obsession with the next.
Our only hope for satisfaction of soul and joy of heart in this life comes from looking intently at what we can’t see (see 2 Cor. 4:16-18; Col. 3:1-4). Therefore, we must take steps to cultivate and intensify in our souls an ache for the beauty and perfection of the age to come. —Sam Storms
Cultivate an ache for heaven – well put! Here are a few reasons why we should be heavenly-minded:
Yearning for heaven keeps us from losing heart:
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.
When we focus on our earthly afflictions they can seem unending and unbearable, but when we focus on our glorious future we can see our pain here is momentary and light compared to the eternal and glorious reward it is producing.
Looking to our heavenly future stirs us for action here:
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:13
A hope in future grace fuels us to work hard, battle temptation, serve others, and persevere. We have hope because we know that this is not the end of the story but someday Jesus will right all that’s been wrong. We look forward to when we see Jesus face to face and he wipes away every tear from our eyes. And though we grieve when believers die we grieve in hope that we’ll see them again.
Keeping our eyes on the prize fuels us for the race. And joy anticipated yields joy now. It’s like longing for the ultimate Christmas. It’s the joyful anticipation of a bride preparing for her wedding day. Though the joy of anticipation isn’t anything like the joy of consummation, it’s still a wonderful ache.
To set our minds on things above is to set our minds on Jesus. And the more we do that, the more we become like him. So go ahead, be as heavenly-minded as you want. That heavenly ache will make you that much more earthly good.