Can we be too heaven-minded? I think certainly so. This begs the question, where is the line drawn? Look at Psalms 33:5
“…the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.”
Our existence in heaven will be different, but it will also be an extension of our life here on earth. Gary DeMar outlines the three dangers of being too heaven-minded:
Everything we have in this life comes from the good hand of God and is meant to be enjoyed within the boundaries of His Law. The Apostle Paul teaches us that we can glorify God in the most basic elements of life—such as partaking of food and drink (1 Cor.10:31).
The Bible tells us that we are to enjoy our wife (Prov. 5:18), our children (Ps. 127:3-5), our home, our work (Eccl. 9:10), etc.. All of these things are physical, tangible, earthly things that God has graciously given us. And by properly prioritizing and enjoying them, we give glory to God and enjoy His goodness.
Mr. DeMar and I see things the same, but it appears that we both have people tell us something very different:
Little did I know, however, that this concept would not resonate well with my Christian brothers. In fact, they very politely informed me that I should simply focus on the Lord and not on earthly things. They also reminded me that we are simply “pilgrims passing through” and that our treasure should be in heaven and not on earth.” Apparently, applying God’s Word to all of my life on this earth is not the same as focusing on some ethereal heavenly concept of God.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s certainly great truth in their statements because they are derived from the Bible. Ultimately, our home IS in heaven and our lives should be directed by this reality. However, there are three potential dangers with this truncated thinking that must be pointed out.
First, these statements separate the universe into two unbiblical categories of sacred and secular. The Reformation taught us that all occupations, whether blacksmith or minister, are sacred to God. The Psalmist tells us that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. Jesus told us that all authority has been given to Him on heaven AND on earth (Matt. 28:18-20). Furthermore, Jesus told us that His Kingdom is here and that Satan has been bound (Matt. 12:28-29). If all the earth is the Lord’s, then there is no distinction between secular and sacred.
This includes politics.
Second, these statements ignore vast portions of Scripture which deal with life in this world. If all Scripture is given for our instruction in righteousness, then we need to understand and apply the Old Testament passages that deal with law, economics, business, and government just like we understand and apply the Psalms and New Testament epistles. We need to understand and apply ALL of God’s Word to ALL of our lives.
But it is easier to box God in, I will admit. I just don’t do it.
Thirdly, this kind of thinking can lead well-meaning Christians to border on a theological heresy known as gnosticism. This is the error that the Apostle Paul was warning Timothy about in 1 Timothy 6:20. The Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry describes Gnosticism this way:
The word “gnosticism” comes from the Greek word “gnosis” which means “knowledge.” There were many groups that were Gnostic and it isn’t possible to easily describe the nuances of each variant of Gnostic doctrines. However, generally speaking, Gnosticism taught that salvation is achieved through special knowledge (gnosis). This knowledge usually dealt with the individual’s relationship to the transcendent Being… The unknowable God was far too pure and perfect to have anything to do with the material universe which was considered evil. (See full description)
Actually, I believe there is a deeper problem behind this truncated view of Christianity and it is driven by the theological system known as Dispensationalism. Contrary to prophetic passages such as Isaiah 11:9, Dispensationalism teaches that we are living in the Last Days and the world will wax worse and worse. When Christians believe that we are living at the end of history, the importance of life on this earth begins to wane in their minds. And if the majority of Christians begin to turn the world back over to the unregenerate secularists, then we will lose all of the ground gained by our forefathers.
Christian brothers awake and arise! We have been called to subdue the earth and disciple the nations! Why has Christ left His Church here for 2,000 years? Christ has left us here for a purpose—to advance His Kingdom. Let’s fight the good fight on earth and enjoy heaven when we get there. Besides, the Bible says much more about life in this world than in the next.
When a company has an employee who is too focused on his retirement plan, he becomes unproductive. Christians have been on the defensive or the run for too long. There hasn’t been much subduing and discipling. When the few Christians who choose to stand up and attack what belongs to God, I get “encouragment” like this:
Christians are evil and have no place in this country. Fundamentalists like you can BURN IN HELL along with all the rest of your “christian” friends and family.
Ironic how it was fundamentalist Christians that gave us the rights and died so that people like this can have the right to speak such things.
Feel free to support whatever party you wish; just don’t use Christianity as your front.
As a Christian, I cannot and will not box God out of anything. The secular humanists do that just fine. People that believe ideas like the above statement want to tip the playing field in favor of humanists and evil, and it will not happen. God inhabits the earth through His people so everyone might as well get used to Christian principles. No worries; no one is going to be forced into becoming a Christian should they so desire. But the laws and culture of our country is Christian in origin and we must remember that if we are to be effective for Christ on earth.