You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Don’t be so heavenly minded that you’re no earthly good.” The point being that as Christians, we don’t want to be so focused on Heaven and being holy that we aren’t of any help to those around us here on Earth.
Look through Colossians chapter three, and note verse two:
“Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”
The chapter talks about being made new by Christ. We no longer are in sin, but are made alive by Him. Therefore, we are to set our minds on things above; focus on Him and becoming more like Him. He is the one who molds us to be merciful, kind, humble, meek, longsuffering, bearing with each other, and forgiving; He makes us loving and gives us peace (3:12-15). We put off our old self, the self that lived for sin and was far away from Him — and put on the new self that He gives us through Christ’s sacrifice.
Looking at that list in Colossians, all those characteristics of God that He gives to us as He shapes us, tell me: How is that no earthly good? Unless we are made more like Christ, we will be no earthly good. Why? Jesus is the one who saves. Humanity bound by sin is not free in Christ. We need Christ to live; salvation comes through Him and Him alone. No person is without need of Christ — not one. If we are saved by Him and live as though being heavenly minded is no earthly good, we are deceiving ourselves. As we learn about God, as we are shaped to be more like Him, we present testimonies to a world that is perishing. We speak and act in ways that point back to Christ; people can look at us and see Christ.
One side of the phrase’s argument has weight — being so heavenly minded that we become ‘holier than thou’ and miss ministering to the people around us because we’re so fixated on making ourselves the best we can be, since God requires perfection. Guess what? Perfection isn’t up to us. We can’t do it. That’s what Christ is for. His perfection is the only way we can be with God. This is by no means an excuse to continue in sin, but realize this: Perfection is not a requirement for Christ to be seen in a life. It’s amidst sin that He comes and saves, and it’s throughout a life that He refines and sharpens.
The truth is that focusing on Him and becoming more like Him brings much earthly good. It’s how people around us will see His power to change lives and heal, to break bonds and set free.
May we be so heavenly minded that we are the most earthly good.