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Is Heavenlymindedness Practical?

September 21, 2006

Yesterday a question was asked in the meta (that’s comments for those of you not yet fluent in blorkese)  (blork = blog + dork) about how we can think on our Blessed Hope and still remember to change the air filter in the furnace.  I think this could be a very edifying conversation and I want to spur you on to keep having it.  Here’s some more verses that speak to the practicality of heavenlymindedness.

Colossians 3:2-5 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

1 Peter 1:13-14 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance,

Romans 8:23-25 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.  For in this hope we were saved.  Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Hebrews 11:1,9-10,13-16, 24-26 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen…. By faith [Abraham] went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God….These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city…. By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.

1 John 3:2-3 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

And finally, here’s a verse to encourage you to the discipline of spiritual conversation:

Malachi 3:16 Then those who feared the LORD spoke with one another in the meta of their pastor’s blog*. The LORD paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the LORD and esteemed his name.

*the earliest and most reliable Hebrew manuscripts omit this phrase.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. September 21, 2006 11:49 am

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha. Spiritual insight and humor all in one place! LOL.

  2. Bethlen Gabor permalink
    September 21, 2006 7:41 pm

    I missed the meta jazz you mentioned, but yeah, I’ll buy this. The scriptures don’t seem to recognize our stuck-on assumption that godliness produces those who are “so heavenly minded they’re no earthly good”. But let me float this. . .

    I’d add in passages such as Mt 10:16-19, or about 80% of the book of Proverbs, to point out an error at the other end. There is a tendency among the “churchy” (a blorkism meaning “churchy”) to assume that godliness requires naivety, credulity, or effeminacy. Though I’ve not done any hard research on this, my unsupported and uncharitable suspicion is that this starts with an early development of monasticism in the church, blends in a little worldly contempt for God’s covenant people, and tops it off with a bit of the offense of the cross. We (the churchy) have bought into this, to the harm of the church and the obscuring of the Gospel. Whad’ya think?

  3. Bethlen Gabor permalink
    September 21, 2006 8:01 pm

    I had another thought, but my articulation failed. Maybe later.

  4. September 21, 2006 8:02 pm

    I think I’m going to need an example of the naivety, credulity or effeminacy before I’m sure what error you’re opposing.

  5. Bethlen Gabor permalink
    September 21, 2006 9:14 pm

    Awwe, I don’t know. This is one to fill out over beers the next time I’m in town, ‘cuz I’m having a hard time getting my arms around it. I haven’t figured out a good way to describe it, but I know it when I see it.

    Where I run into trouble describing it is separating out the attributes. Let me try to describe it in terms of movements or people. Liberal theologians would be horrified at the idea of the Church Militant, of the Gospel going forth into the darkness to call forth souls. Roman Catholic theologians would undercut the clear Biblical mandate of human government to use the sword to defend the innocent. Here’s a touchy one: Lots of folks would say the church has no right to oppose the ravages of militant Islam, since that might offend them and turn their hearts off to the gospel. I think these views are naive, stupid even. But worse, I find them to be unbiblical, and ungodly, though they might be held by believers. But I want to be careful not to apply this thinking to individuals who might simply be devoted, worshipful people who genuinely aren’t concerned with such things–and I pretty much don’t, in application. I’m thinking here of a quiet college professor who likes movies and Meg Ryan, who practices personal devotion to his Lord, but doesn’t pay attention to “big” things. That’s quiet, but it’s not quietude. It’s a personal, devotional way of living life, but it’s not monasticism.

    I’m not satisfied with this characterization, but that’s the best I can do for now. Come visit VA Beach, or buy me a beer in a couple of summers.

  6. September 22, 2006 9:27 am

    It seems like you’re objecting to those who are so pietistic that they are no earthly good. And what I am saying (and I don’t think you are disagreeing) is that heavenlymindedness doesn’t produce such “otherworldliness” because, as this morning’s post argues, the distinction between heaven and earth is eschatological, not metaphysical. In other words, heaven is just as real as earth, the only reason it’s unseen is that it isn’t here yet. Heaven will be a lot earthier than most people imagine.

    Heavenlymindedness, in fact, fuels the mission of the Church Militant.

  7. September 22, 2006 9:39 am

    The heavenlymindedness begins with understanding that we were chosen to be born again to a new life of faith-walking that involves not only interpreting all things through Him but reacting to all things like Him.

    Pragmatism can easily be used as an excuse for certainly it wasn’t exactly very practical for those fishermen to give up their livelihoods for some carpenter’s son who they barely knew. Most of God’s high callings are confounding to the earthbound mind.

    That being said, we must make a distinction here between, as Driscol has pointed out, being cultural and being worldly. Gnosticism rears its dualistic head at almost every turn and Beth is spot on in (at least I think I’m understanding her correctly ;) ) when she points to monkhood and the fallacy of closing out ‘the world’.

    We live in the Spirit, knowing things about who we are, who He is, who we used to be, and who we will become that the natural, unregenerate man hasn’t a clue. This understanding in and of itself seperates us from the rest of the world even if we don’t fully comprehend and apply it. This is our life, a life that the Scriptures continually call us to – focusing on the spiritual realities since our tendency is to have severe ADD and want to find our pleasures, directions, directives, and understanding by what we observe via our retinas.

    When I am tempted to bathe in this life and swallow its fooling elixirs I am glad that the Word is there for me so that I can refocus heavenward and get the proper glasses.

  8. September 22, 2006 9:50 am


    Thanks for your comment. I can’t stop grinning right now because there are two commenters on my blog who should be distinguished. “Beth” is a girl named Beth. “Bethlen Gabor” is a Captain in the Marines who chose his online pseudonym because it’s the name of some obscure general in a Prussian war or something, you’d have to ask him.

    But now that you’ve made the oops, I may start calling him Bethie just to bug him! :-)

  9. September 22, 2006 9:59 am

    In the words of Scooby Doo — roh roh! ;) May apologies Mr. Captain :) lol

  10. Bethlen Gabor permalink
    September 22, 2006 8:22 pm

    Ha ha! No worries– It’s a name that doesn’t translate into english well. But he was quite the fella’. Bethie is fine (I learned a long time ago that you can’t pick your own callsign–it just gets stuck to you), but I’m going back to “quatro-Isaiah” if you do.

    Back to business, though. Yeah, the pietism is what I’m getting at. As in so many areas of the Christian life, we are to go so far, but no more in this. And as usual, I hide my sin behind my pet peeves. I am put off by pietism, put I tend towards a rather severe pragmatism from time to time. I am reminded of the example of the Reformers again, who learned to flee from the monasticism of the Roman church (think of Martin Luther marrying the nun, and all that), yet were deeply concerned with consistent, faithful application of God’s Word in their lives.

  11. Egana permalink
    September 23, 2006 9:36 pm

    I can tell I’m in the right place for an intelligent, articulate conversation concerning the finer points of the holy scriptures when I see “Scooby-Doo” quoted in the comments….

    like, wow!

  12. September 23, 2006 10:05 pm

    I’m the *real* Beth :) Eddie knows me, too, though he may not remember me… I’m the redhead who came down with John and the gang last year.

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