Setting Our Mind (Heavenly Minded)
Robert Wurtz II
As we begin our thoughts I would like to examine Paul’s fascinating testimony concerning his mind being set on things above. When writing to the Philippians from an ancient jail cell, he gives this account:
For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith. (Philippians 1:21–25 NKJV)
Paul is explaining to us that the only reason he has for living is to do the will of God; otherwise, he would prefer to leave this world to be with Christ. In fact, he stated, “For I am hard-pressed between the two.” It was a real struggle for Paul to continue on earth. He had received the Holy Spirit and enjoyed communion with Him; however, this experience is the earnest of our inheritance — not the fullness of it. (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:14) Understand that eternal life is not synonymous with immortality (living forever). Every human being is “immortal.” Everyone is going to exist for all eternity someplace. Nevertheless, true eternal life was defined by the Lord Jesus in John 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3 NKJV) The greatest desire for Paul was to be with Jesus. This is where his mind was set.
Set Your Mind Where You Are Seated
Paul not only encouraged the saints to set their minds on things above, but he warns us about people who set their minds on other things. He writes, For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 3:18–20 NKJV) There are two groups in this passage; one that finds their fulfillment in the temporal things of this world, and the other that finds fulfillment in the eternal things of Heaven. The first group has made their belly (appetites) into a god. The second group is eagerly waiting for their God to return.
Setting Our Mind
Someone once said, “The world looks different when it is seen from heaven.” Many people have lost heaven’s perspective because they are setting their mind on the things of this present world. Paul gives us the remedy, Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. The verb literally means to “keep minding.” The same is true for seeking. We are to “keep seeking.” In other words, we are to anchor our minds on the things above. This involves a conscious choice on our part. The 19th century scholar J.B. Lightfoot said, “You must not only seek heaven, you must think heaven.” Why? Because “thinking heaven” gives us a proper perspective about life and death. We begin to think like Paul, For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. He had full control of his mind. He set it where he wanted it set and it anchored his whole mindset. What was he saying? I would prefer to go on and be with the Lord; but God still has a work for me to do. This world has nothing for me — I am eagerly waiting on Christ’s return.