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. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Col. 3:1-4, NIV)
Most of us have probably heard the clichéd warning, “Don’t be so heavenly minded you’re no earthly good.” I think the idea is that we don’t want to fill our churches with pie-in-the-sky Christians sitting around waiting for glory while the rest of the world slips away into a Christ-less oblivion. We can all agree that’s a bad thing.
However, I’m not sure that’s really the most pressing problem facing our churches today. In fact, a number of pastors and authors have noted recently that we’re actually so earthly focused that we are no heavenly good. The problem is not that people are too fixated on God, but that they’re not fixated enough. We’re far more interested in building our own little kingdoms than praying down God’s.
I would go so far as to say that it is rare to find someone whose heart is truly fixed “on things above.” Most of us are far too focused on earthly things—our friends, our cars, our homes, our families, our jobs, our books, our televisions, our hobbies or our gadgets. I have this terrifying tendency towards creating a world that revolves around me, and that kind of self-centered orientation is a tough addiction to break.
Paul comes at this problem from two related, but different angles. First, he says, we should “set our hearts on things above” because we’ve been joined together with Christ and “up there” is where Jesus is. If we’ve truly been converted, our hearts belong to Jesus and our worship should be focused around Him and Him alone.
This is not to say we should detach ourselves from reality—Paul is a pragmatic and practical realist who is keenly aware of the daily ebb and flow of life in Christian community. Separation from the world is not his point at all. However, if our hope is to grow in Christ-likeness then we can only achieve that if we’re actually looking at Christ. We cannot become what we do not behold.
Where is your heart?