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Is Heaven On Your Mind

Former President George Bush once said, in speaking about an upcoming election, "I think the undecideds could go either way." That statement, curious as it may sound, can be applied to religious life. Millions of people remain in the undecided column about Jesus Christ. They compliment Jesus but just can't bring themselves to commit to Him. They laud His teaching about love but stubbornly refuse to make Him Lord. They insist He was a great moral teacher and then imply He lied when He said He was God in the flesh and has authority to hold people accountable for how they behave morally. They applaud His teaching about Heaven but are appalled at the idea He could or would actually send anyone to hell. Even inside the New Testament church, some members never come down with a full-blown case of Christianity as described in the New Testament. Instead, they experience a mild version of conversion. They were buried in baptism, but didn't really die to sin (Romans 6:1-4). They want Jesus but don't want His church, at least not very much. An hour a week on a church pew seems to be all they can stand, and then only if there's nothing else they want to do. They expect to wear a crown in Heaven but refuse to bear a cross while here on Earth (Revelation 2:10; Luke 9:23). They sing "I Surrender All" but in practice surrender very little. They are ready to follow Jesus, as long as He doesn't cramp their style. In short, many want into Heaven when they die, but don't want Heaven to get into them while they live.

The apostle Paul sends a challenge for us to get out of the undecided column and sell out to Christ in Colosssians 3:1-4 — If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory." This remarkable passage reminds us that genuine disciples of Jesus are people who have firmly and purposely decided to live for Christ here on earth. With the intensity of a hound dog on the hunt, they are fixed on seeking things above. More than anything on earth, they desire to go to Heaven and be with Christ! That goal saturates their minds, dominates their thinking, and guides their lives. The danger is that we become preoccupied with things on the earth and allow those things to push Heaven out of our minds. It is said some people are so heavenly-minded they are no earthly good. But the apostle's concern in the above passage is that we become earthly-minded to the point we lose sight of Heaven. C. S. Lewis wrote, "If you read history, you will fmd that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this one" (Heaven, Randy Alcorn, p 21). How often is Heaven on your mind?

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ