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Tag: How to develop a heavenly mindset

How to Set Your Mind on Things Above

How to Set Your Mind on Things Above

In Colossians 3:1-4 the apostle Paul instructs the believers “to seek the things that are above where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God; to set their minds on things above, not on earthly things.” But what exactly does it mean to set your mind on things above and why?

In almost every discipline of life, people are discovering the power of the mind. It has been shown that a person’s mindset plays a very significant role in his success or failure. In the world of sports, the best athletes are those who are focused and determined. In medicine, it has been discovered that a patient’s mental attitude makes a difference in the speed and likelihood of their recovery.

In law, a person’s mental disposition is a factor in the seriousness of their offense. When a person sets out to hurt somebody else, he is said to have committed a “premeditated” crime. It means that right from the start, he had the intent to hurt or kill another person.

The Power of the Mind

What is a mindset? The Free Dictionary defines mindset as “A fixed mental attitude or disposition that predetermines a person’s responses to and interpretation of situations.” In other words, it is our way of thinking that dictates how we look at things and how we react or respond to every situation.

It’s no wonder then that when the apostle Paul takes turns from the theological to the practical, he focuses first on the mind. If we continue reading chapter 3 of Colossians, Paul instructs the believers to live “Christ-like lives,” and stay away from carnality.

A Mind that is Set towards Heaven

The word “seek” in Colossians 3:1 marks aspiration, desire and passion, it has something to do with what the heart wants. If we read the verse in the NIV it says, “… set your hearts on things above …” (Colossians 3:1 NIV). In the Bible “heart” stands for our affections and “mind” stands for our understanding.

The apostle Paul is appealing to us to build our life and draw our emotions from a heavenly perspective; he is saying that the believer’s mind should be consumed with heavenly things. To have a heavenly mindset is to think heavenly thoughts.

As new creatures in Christ, we are to stop thinking about earthly things and focus our thoughts on heavenly things. Please don’t get me wrong! We should concentrate on what we’re doing here and now. We must concentrate on our jobs, our ministry, etc. But we must do all these from a heavenly perspective because “the best Christian living comes from minds that are fixed on heaven.”

It is expected of every born again believer to have his/her focus changed from “earthly things” into “heavenly things.” But what things are considered heavenly and how exactly do we think about them?

Going back to the verse, heavenly things are those that are above. When Paul says that we must seek the things that are above and set our mind on things above, he’s referring to God and His Kingdom! To set our minds on things above is to seek the will of God, to seek His passion and to live in accordance with His will. Earthly things, on the other hand, include everything that is in the world.

Earthly Things

A. Earthly things include treasures, money, wealth and possessions. Most people seem to think that having all the riches in the world will make them happy as it solves all their problems.

This is not to say that it’s a bad thing to become prosperous. God wants to bless us in every aspect of our lives and He wants us to live a comfortable life. After all, God is the source of everything, including wealth and riches.

Man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions

But as believers in Christ, we must resist the notion that true happiness can be found in anything this world has to offer. It’s not in the new house, brand new car, new gadgets or fat bank account. True happiness and real treasures are only found in heaven (Matthew 6:19-20).

If our greatest desire is for the things of this earth, that’s where our heart is. If our greatest desire is for the things of heaven, that’s where our heart will be, because our heart follows what we treasure (Matthew 6:21).

B. Another thing that seems to take the place of God in our lives is our relationships (family and friends). Our marriage most especially has been taking first priority over our relationship with God. We need to understand that marriage is an earthly institution and that’s why Paul says, “A woman is bound by law to her husband for as long as he is alive” (1 Corinthians 7:39).

Also in Jesus’ conversation with the Sadducees who did not believe in the resurrection, He told them that “At the resurrection people neither marry nor are given in marriage for they will be like angels in heaven” (Matthew 22:23-30).

A more in-depth explanation of what it means to prioritize God and the things of God is found in Luke 14:25-33 and Matthew 10:37-39 where Jesus speaks of what it really means to follow Him and the sacrifices each believer has to make for the sake of the Kingdom.

Why Should We Set Our hearts and Minds on Heavenly Things?

1. Because we have died in Christ and our lives are now hidden in Christ (Colossians 3:1, 3).

These statements of Paul stem from Colossians 2:12 where it says, “We are buried with Christ through baptism and raised with Him through faith.” Paul is speaking to the baptized believers who made a public declaration of their faith and relationship with Christ.

Paul is challenging every believer who claims to have died to his “old self” and has been made new through his faith in Christ, to live for Christ and not for himself any longer. (Galatians 2:20)

2. Because we are not of this world.

As Christians, we are not citizens of planet earth; our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20). We may be in this world but we are not of this world. Heaven is our final destination, we’re just pilgrims passing through a foreign country (1 Peter 2:11). We can’t help but get distracted by what this world can offer but for us not to get lost along the way; we need to remember where we are going.

3. So when Christ appears, we will also appear with Him in glory (Colossians 3:4).

The promise of the return of Jesus is not only that we will see His glory, but so that we also will appear with Him in glory. This is the revealing of the sons of God mentioned in Romans 8:19. On that day when Christ appears visibly, every eye will not only see His glory but they will also see the sons of God, the believers in Christ, for what they really are, not merely as they appear to this world. Believers will share in the glory of Jesus Christ which the whole world will see.

How to Set Your Mind on Things Above

1. By rejecting everything that is not from God.

Setting our minds on heavenly things sounds like a challenge, so in order to do that, we must first turn away from earthly things. In order to think heavenly thoughts, we must get rid of or keep away from things that would draw us away from God.

Worldly things look enticing but we are warned not to love the world because everything that is in it is not from God and will all pass away (1 John 2:15-17). We should not love the world and get attached to it because friendship with the world is enmity with God (James 4:4).

If what we watch, read or listen to are drawing us away from God then we might as well stay away from them. If we are hanging out with certain people who are pulling us away from God we must be cautious and start keeping our distance. This does not mean we should not care for the unsaved but we should exercise caution not to get sucked into the system of this world.

2. By developing a life of continual discipline.

Paul’s exhortation in Romans 12:2 (NIV) gives the interpretation that members of the Roman church were already being conformed. Paul was saying, “You must stop conforming, stop being molded into the world.” 

The world’s influence is undeniable, especially in the entertainment industry. The world will control how you think, how you dress and how you act. The world dictates what the “norm” is so it takes a lot of discipline not to go with the flow which can be done only when our mind is focused on heavenly things.

3. By fostering healthy fellowship.

Our thinking is often affected and influenced by our friends and the people we are in company with, that is why it is important that we develop friendships with godly people who will help us seek spiritual things.

When you are in the company of people who love to cuss and swear, soon you’ll find yourself doing exactly the same thing. The saying, “Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are,” is true. The kind of people you are with have a great influence on you because bad company corrupts good character (1 Corinthians 15:33).

4. By developing a consistent prayer life (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Prayer is the backbone of every believer and a healthy quiet time is an indicator of a Christian’s spiritual life. What is a quiet time? It is simply being intentional about having a conversation with God.

Conclusion

Never underestimate the power of the mind. It is very important to have the right mindset; the kind of thinking that is set on heavenly things because it’s what dictates how we live our lives and how we deal with certain situations. The mind is very powerful and the enemy knows that very well.

It is for this reason that Satan is always attacking the believer’s mind with doubts, fears, and worldly thoughts. He wants to keep them from focusing on what really matters, and that is, God and His kingdom. Satan cannot make us do things and he cannot read our thoughts but he can play with our minds.

Setting our mind on heavenly things will enable us to see all and do all with the perspective of eternity. Believers ought to “fix their eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).


Recommended Resource: A Place Called Heaven: 10 Surprising Truths About Your Eternal Home
By Dr. Robert Jeffress

If any of us learned we were going to move to a foreign country, we’d do everything we could to learn about that place so that we’d be prepared when moving day arrived. As Christians, we know someday we will leave our familiar country and be united with God in heaven. And yet many of us know very little about this place called heaven.

In this enlightening book, bestselling author Dr. Robert Jeffress opens the Scriptures to unpack ten surprising truths about heaven and explain who we will see there and how we can prepare to go there someday.

Perfect for believers or skeptics who are curious about heaven.