What are heavenly things? (What does the Bible say?)

Since I was in theology school, I had a profound passion for learning about heavenly things. I was especially keen on understanding what the Bible says about heavenly things. During an interfaith symposium, I was pleased when I got the silver lining to engage with distinguished Biblical scholars and members of the clergy. I established meaningful affiliations with them and attained a momentous understanding of the various dynamics revolving around heavenly things. Last week, one member of our online Christian forum posted an interesting query that sought to understand what heavenly things are. Many members contributed to the topic with varying explanations, and soon, it became a heated debate. Owing to my experience in this topic, I was all set and ready to provide my two cents on the matter. So, what are heavenly things?

According to Colossians 3:1-2, heavenly things refer to matters in the Kingdom of Heaven above. This inspires people to concentrate on spiritual and godly matters instead of the material concerns and occurrences of this world.

I cordially invite you to continue reading this article and let us take a deeper voyage into this subject matter together as we explore what heavenly things are according to scripture and much more.

What does the Bible say about the heavenly things?

What are heavenly things?
What does the Bible say about the heavenly things? Image source: Pixabay

There are several scriptures that address the heavenly things. In Matthew 6:9, Jesus commands people to pray while addressing God as ‘Our Father in Heaven’ to put their focus on the heavenly realm. He makes a distinction between God and their earthly fathers to shift their sights from the world to the Kingdom of Heaven by simply acknowledging the dwelling place of God.

In Ephesians 2:6, the scriptures address that people’s true status, even as they reside within the confines of the world, is being seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly places. This emphasizes Christians’ exclusive status with God and points toward their mandate to live godly and heavenly-minded in this generation like God’s children, as Titus 2:12 asserts.

According to Hebrews 11:14-16, the faithful believers whom Jesus says are not of this world, as referenced in John 17:14-16 desire a better homeland in the heavenly realm. In having their focus on the heavenly realm, believers yield to its characteristics and manifest them to the earthly realm.

What are the heavenly things that Jesus speaks of in John 3:9-18?

John 3:9-18 explains that the heavenly things that Jesus speaks of refer to the coming of the Kingdom of God. Jesus makes the distinction between heavenly things and earthly things to explain to Nicodemus that if he did not believe in the earthly things, it was more difficult to believe in the heavenly things. Jesus makes simple illustrations using earthly matters such as life concerns to make the point clear to Nicodemus that he needs spiritual transformation. Additionally, Jesus highlights that He can speak authoritatively concerning heavenly things because only He came down from and ascended to Heaven.

Nicodemus has difficulty comprehending the spiritual rebirth of his soul, which Jesus considers an earthly thing and renders him more unbelieving towards heavenly things. Jesus illustrates His divine nature and character as being both Messiah and God to address that if Nicodemus was unable to grasp and believe how God works in humanity, he could not understand that God became a human being and lived among people.

What are the heavenly things in Colossians?

In Colossians 3:1-8, heavenly things refer to pursuing matters which are in Heaven above. In essence, Paul addresses that, if people seek heavenly matters, the resources to conquer earthly things will be accessible to them because God responds to believers who diligently and sincerely seek Him. In addition, he asserts that heavenly things and earthly things are conflicting because the former focuses on loving and submitting to God, whereas the latter puts the focus on carnality or the flesh, which leads to sin.

Apostle Paul urges people to discipline themselves by getting rid of things that do not reflect the nature of God and embracing the heavenly things that do. He addresses that overcoming certain earthly things can be difficult because character flaws are like deep thorns in the flesh that can disconcert or make people feel guilty. This can make people wonder whether they will be acceptable to God, and thus overcoming earthly things and seeking heavenly things take a great amount of work which necessitates discipline.

According to Colossians 3:14, for a believer to effectively pursue heavenly things, Paul mentions that love is the crown jewel that supersedes all of the other virtues and binds them all together. This refers to a true love for God, others, and ourselves to inspire believers to transform into the nature of Christ. The act of diligently putting on heavenly things and getting rid of earthly things provides the validation of seeking God and the matters which are in Heaven above. As a result, God responds to believers that make Him the priority of their lives, and this is the reward they receive from God as they emulate and exhibit the image of Christ as they carry on with their lives.

What does it mean to set your mind on things above?

What are heavenly things?
What does it mean to set your mind on things above? Image source: Pixabay

In Colossians 3:1-17, Paul makes it clear that to setting one’s mind on things that are above refers to precisely articulating the main concerns of the Kingdom of God in the midst of daily earthly endeavors. The book of Colossians was authored by the apostle Paul in the city of Colossae to the church. The culture of Colossae was immensely morally decadent due to the fact that it was in the pagan Roman world. Nonetheless, the Christians in Colossae could not take their direction from the society around them anymore, as they had to take cues from Heaven above.

Even though they were in the world physically, the people of Colossae were not to conform to the same matters that the civilization around them did. They were not supposed to carry out themselves according to the norms of the customs around them because it would mean that their sense of direction was on earthly things here below. Paul depicts the earthly society as having several vices, such as rage, temper, wickedness, defamation, obscene language, and deception. In contrast, he describes heavenly things as characterized by peace, compassion, kindness, meekness, tenderness, patience, reconciliation, devotion, worship, and gratefulness.

Believers are commanded to cultivate the virtues from Heaven above while still living in the world through the concentrated effort of setting their minds to it. When people become engulfed by a culture and society that advances earthly behavior through the news, radio, billboards, newspapers, conversations, or television shows, they will continuously be geared to embrace the earthly values. However, when people set their minds on things above, they read and meditate on the scripture, listen to sermons, worship through Christian music, and completely turn their hearts to God.

How to Set Your Mind on Things Above

There are various ways to set one’s mind on things above by becoming a new individual in Christ and abiding by His precepts. Believers are urged to get rid of earthly matters and shift their focus to strictly heavenly things. They are commanded to dispose of their former old self and the sinful nature that they had in their past and to fully demonstrate the new self with the heavenly mindset. Additionally, believers are instructed to allow the power of the Holy Spirit to guide and transform them into new individuals who acknowledge the power of Jesus Christ working inside them. They are supposed to exemplify Christ and act like his servants by virtue of walking in holiness and righteousness.

Believers are advised to have the peace of Jesus Christ ruling over their lives and live in harmony with other Christians in their walk as heavenly-minded individuals. When people have an unwavering identity in Jesus Christ, they have a vibrant stronghold in finding perfect peace and setting their minds on things above. Additionally, when people turn their focus from worthless things in a world of vanity, they become more empowered to represent the goodness and sovereignty of Jesus Christ. Moreover, they become deeply ingrained in knowing the omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent God and letting him rule over their lives here on earth as they focus on going to Heaven.

Additionally, setting one’s mind on things above refers to surrendering earthly matters and everything in it. It entails letting the word of God to richly dwell in their hearts as they live their lives, us citizens or ambassadors of the Kingdom of Heaven above. This way, people have a Christ-centered life and become the airs off the Kingdom of God on planet Earth as they propagate the word of God to other people so that they can believe in the Kingdom to come.

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