The Heavenly Mindset

by Dennis Stackhouse

In writing the church at Colossae, Paul said this in Colossians 3:1: "Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God." We know the apostle is addressing baptized believers, as these people had been raised up with Christ, according to Colossians 2:12. With that in mind, all Christian people should recognize this teaching as an encouragement to not allow worldly matters to interfere with a proper mindset, a heavenly mindset. After all, Paul does instruct us to "keep seeking the things above." In other words, this is something the Christian never stops doing; it is a continual exercise, we are to keep seeking the things above as long we dwell in these earthly bodies. This is the case because that's where Christ is and we want to be where He is. Our goal should be that of reaching heaven.

Colossians 3:2 continues this thought: "Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth." If we can continually fill our minds with "the things above," such as God and Christ in their heavenly home, the heavenly preparations being made for Christians (John 14:2-3) and our expectation to imitate God and Christ (Ephesians 5:1; I Corinthians 11:1), then our lives will be more reflective of what God wants them to be. So it is entirely appropriate for Christian men and women to remove their focus from worldly things and concentrate their thoughts on heaven; in fact, the Scriptures strongly encourage us to do so. Let's consider a few more examples of this.

In Matthew 6:19-21, our Lord said: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." If worldly treasures have been replaced by heavenly treasures, the Christian truly is seeking the things above. Jesus plainly said that our heart will follow after our treasure, so if that treasure is in heaven, we have our priorities in order. Paul indicated that his desire was "to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better," in Philippians 1:23. Paul was undeniably focusing on the heavenly home. In Philippians 3:14 he also said: "I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." If this is not a focus on heaven, I'm not sure what it is. Then in Philippians 3:20 we learn that the Christian's citizenship is in heaven. Doesn't it make sense to focus on the "country" where our citizenship is?

The apostle wrote in II Timothy 4:8: "In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing." Could there be any better reason to embrace the heavenly mindset? If we really did make heaven our priority, perhaps the things of this world would not be so troublesome to us; perhaps we would eliminate a great deal of frustration and anxiousness. Make sure that heaven is your goal.