It’s a myth. Not true. Not the way things really work. Don’t listen to popular, prevailing wisdom that says there’s a danger that we can become so heavenly minded that we’re no earthly good. That somehow the things of heaven and earth aren’t tied together, and that to overly focus on the one is to become ineffectual in the other. Uh-uh, . . . not having it.
It’s the father of lies who would have us believe that all we need to do is concentrate on maximizing our experience “here and now” and leave whatever “there and then” there might be to look after itself when we get to it. Instead, some of the most practical advice Paul ever dished out was to set our minds on things above, and not on things that are on the earth (Col. 3:2). And Peter, as he continues to stir up his readers, would say the same thing.
This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles . . .
(2Peter 3:1-2 ESV)
This morning, I’m chewing on the connection between remembering the predictions and obeying the commandments. Between the promises of God and how they can influence the practices of His people. Between thinking on the future and how that impacts acting in the present. It’s what’s called living in the anticipation of the imminent return of Christ.
If I really believe that, just as the prophets predicted, Christ could come again at any moment, then I don’t want to be found snoozing at wheel. At the Master’s return, I won’t want to be found unengaged in His work for the kingdom, with my talents buried, not invested, with little or no return. Instead, I will heed His command to “Occupy, until I come” (Luke 19:13 KJV).
If I truly am a joint-heir with Christ, and there really is “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (1Peter 1:4), then I’m going to be less concerned with storing up treasure on earth, “where moth and rust destroy”, and all about listening to His encouragement to lay up treasures in heaven. And where my treasure is, there my heart will be also (Matt. 6:19-21).
If there is, in fact, coming a day when I am going to be face-to-face with the Son of God, the living Word, the eternal Creator, than I am motivated to leverage all the supernatural enabling He has graced me with to live out my natural life according to His will so that, on that day, I might hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” And that, for the glory of God alone.
If, what God has prepared for His people is but a fragment of what I imagine as I read the prophets’ description of it, then truly “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18).
Believing the predictions, is what compels us toward obeying the commandments. To the degree that we are heavenly minded, we are earthly motivated. To taste even a bit of our future, is to want to live life to the full in the present.
Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
(2Peter 3:11-13 ESV)
Because we look for a new place, we live for a new place. Because we know this world is passing away, we don’t become to attached to it. Because we know He has said He is going to prepare a place for us and will come again for us (Jn. 14:3), and we know His promises are true, we seek now, by His grace and through His Spirit, to live in a manner worthy of our calling.
Oh, that we might be MORE heavenly minded so that, through our obedience to His commands, we might reflect something of that which is truly, and eternally, good.
By His grace. For His glory.