Becoming so heavenly minded that we are of some earthly good.

Don’t be so heavenly minded that you’re no earthly good…Really?!

A popular cliché in the church is, “don’t be so heavenly minded that you’re no earthly good.” I’ve never liked that saying because when I read the Bible I am instructed to “set my mind on things above and not on things on the earth.” We need to intentionally set our gaze on heaven. We don’t need to worry about being too heavenly minded because most of us naturally think about earthly things. Think about it. In the last 24 hours were your thoughts filled with things found in list one or two?

List One – Earthly Things:

  • Bills, money, debt, or budgets.
  • Work, tasks, to-do lists, emails, voice-mails, etc.
  • Doing the dishes, laundry, grocery shopping, and dinner plans.

List Two – Heavenly Things:

  • The Kingdom of God and His righteousness.
  • The Word of God.
  • Angels, the Throne Room, the reality of Heaven.

Some Clichés We Should Just Throw Out

I don’t know what you have been thinking about but most of my thoughts were list one type and no one had to remind me to be earthly minded.

Some clichés contain truth and would serve us well if we really believed and acted upon them. But this cliché on the other hand, “don’t be so heavenly minded that you’re no earthly good,” does not encourage us in the truth and we would be better not to obey it. It does not help us accomplish the goal of “on Earth as it is in Heaven” but instead helps us with our “on Earth as it is in Church” busy work.

C.S Lewis wrote,

“If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.”

Now why couldn’t that be the common phrase we hear in church? Maybe because it’s not common to think like this (and it is a bit long to be a cliché).

I realize that churches already have a problem finding volunteers to accomplish their goals so warning the few people they do have to not to be too heavenly minded makes sense. It’s like telling employees at the office not to spend time on Facebook because it is an unproductive use of their time and there is more work to do than time available (and no, I don’t think Heaven will be like Facebook).

True, our time here is limited and we will be in heaven forever so why not focus on what needs to be done on earth while we are able to? Well because we tend to assume what needs accomplished on the earth instead of praying, “Your will be done. On Earth as it is in Heaven.” And guess what, we need to know how it is in Heaven so we have a proper model to imitate. Then we will have something valuable to pursue as ambassadors for Christ.

So let us continue to set our affections and mind on things above so we may be of some earthly good. Let me know what you think about this? How can setting our mind on Heaven help us with our work here on the Earth?

About Josh Monen

Josh is a Christian, entrepreneur and writer from Ridgefield, WA. He's married with three kids: ages 4, 2 and 1. Before he met God, Josh was a drug addict with a $500/day cocaine addiction that almost killed him. Today he's seeking a real authentic relationship with God and others.


  1. Matt Perkins

    Made me think of:

    Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

  2. Josh

    That’s a perfect example and a good word to meditate on, “you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary.”

  3. Camilia

    I think the phrase refers more towards, not forgetting where you came from Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and cone short of the glory of God, even Jesus the son of the most high God washed feet! But He still had an earthly purpose, some people get so religious the began to persecute, instead of prophesy! We have a purpose on the earth before we leave and it’s not just to live, die, n.get to heaven!

    • Joshua Monen

      Hi Camilia, thank you for sharing. I agree with you that our purpose is not just to live, die and then go to heaven. And yes, Jesus did have a purpose here on the earth. When he began his public ministry He said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” To me that indicates a very close connection with heaven and earth. I don’t think it has to be one or the other. I believe the mission is contained in our Lord’s prayer “thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Thanks for sharing and good to meet you!

    • Tracy Powers

      I agree with Camilia in that some people get so heavenly minded they don’t/won’t/can’t relate to the lost here on earth.

  4. Anthony Baker

    I completely agree. As a matter of fact, I am preaching on this very subject Sunday morning, out of Colossians 3:2.

    • Joshua Monen

      Thanks Anthony, where do you preach at? Hope your sermon goes well. 🙂

  5. Robert Eddowes

    Awesome! I disagree with that cliche as well. It’s just like I learned recently that if you cant figure out God’s plan for your life your not reading the Bible. The answer ‘Go out unto ALL the world and PREACH the gospel to EVERY creature.’ doesn’t sound to me like mystery or good idea, but a command.
    It is also the focus of Jesus ministry ‘REPENT for the kingdom of God is at hand’, and he sought, saved, healed and loved the lost. (‘The healthy need no doctor’)
    Sounds to me like thats a call to ALL believers to minister, to seek and save the lost to share our faith as we love God and one another.

  6. Scott

    The point of the comment “Dont be so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good” simply means to not overspiritualize everything. It’s not complicated. Christians who are casting out Red light Demons & binding & gagging & placing Hedges, standing in “gaps” calling them in from the North, South, East, West, focusing on their “Gifts” rather than actually being effective in reaching the lost & Needing to pray from a word from God whether they should attend Church.

    The devil loves it when he can get Christians chasing their tails, being inward focused, religous & weird. It’s then that we dont notice our hurting neighbor that needs a hand, being lead by God to speak into a strangers life (without a glory cloud or Gold dust falling from the heavens…or rafters) or the Local Church that could really use more help but we’d rather say we are call to “intercede” from home?!

    Let’s throw out the “we all are a different part of the body rubbish” and using that as a reason for being strange. Let’s pray for God’s strength,leading & prompting. Let’s pray for the lost that God would use us in impacting their lives (not weirding them out) & let’s stop over spiritualizing everything!
    God put you on planet Earth for a reason.

  7. Josh Monen

    Scott, I agree there are many Christians who get so focused on the spiritual realm that they lose sight of the natural. But it’s also true that many Christians completely ignore the spiritual realm and try to simply do good works based on their own human ability.

    Personally, I don’t think it’s one or the other (spiritually minded or earthly minded). We can be completely immersed in heavenly things (like Jesus and the Apostle Paul) and still be effective in practical matters here on the earth. Col. 3:2 says, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”

    One of the reasons we’re to set our mind on heavenly things is so we know how to do ministry here. Jesus taught us to pray for His Kingdom to come and for His will to be done here as it is in heaven. If we don’t know what’s going on in heaven then how do we know how to respond to situations here on earth? But if we see, for example, that there’s no sickness in heaven we can boldly come against sickness here on earth because our mind was set on heavenly things.

    So I agree that we shouldn’t lock ourselves in a closet and pray 24/7. But I don’t think ignoring the spiritual or heavenly realm is the answer either.

  8. Jason Brown

    I just want to tell you, that you have a very powerful testimony. Also, you hit it right on the head when you said that God instructs us to “Set our minds and hearts on things above”, and there are many other scriptures that confirm what God is instructing us to do as Christians. For instance, He says “I have called you out of this world, so no longer conform to the ways of this world”. God tells us many times throughout his word of these things. As Christians God says to not lean on our own understanding, God means our understanding of right and wrong, to hold ourselves to the measure and standards of God, not of man, not of this world.

    • Josh Monen

      Hi Jason, thank you for your comment. And I love that scripture, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

  9. Angelica

    Thank you for this article. It put things into perspective for me and confirmed what I felt the Father speaking to me as truth to this same comment made to me by a pastor in my church. Something about this comment just made me uncomfortable. So I asked God to show me the truth behind this; He brought me here. I know why it made me uncomfortable, because it is not in line with scripture. It’s not in line with what I have learned from God as the path He sets us on once we’re saved. We are supposed to, at His leading, slowly be letting all the things of the world go and embrace more of His things.

    We’re all imperfect so I don’t blame her for her quick retort. I suspect fear of the unknown causes many to say things like this. Instead of asking more questions to find out the heart’s intent, blanket statements like this are used. I’m sure something I’m doing makes her uncomfortable but she may not know herself what that was in order for her to ask me about it. I will probably see her again and this now gives me insight so that I can now ask her questions about her point of view.

    To comment on an earlier post; binding and loosing is a very effective tool. It’s biblical. Matthew 18:18. It’s our responsibility to use the tools God has given us to make a difference while we’re here on Earth in our own lives and for the lives of the people in our circle of influence against Satan’s plot against the plans of God for us. I highly recommend it!

    Jesus cast out demons. We are supposed to stand in the gap for our brothers and sisters in Christ just like Moses did in the Old Testament for the Israelites. And some intercessors are called to pray constantly, all day as a matter of fact; they are given assignments by God for certain people, areas, or even countries. Isn’t God amazing! He even gives an assignment to some random stranger to pray for YOU when you don’t know you need it or won’t do it for yourself?? I find that very comforting.

    It does SEEM weird because we look at this through our “earthly minded” lenses. When we have our “heavenly minded” glasses on, we can see that these things are all found in the Bible. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. What He called people to do in the Bible then still works for today. I believe since God knows best and is the Creator of all things, it would be prudent to follow His lead on how He’s leading His people to work for Him. We just need to be open to the different ways He calls His people to do His work. We can ask Him to open our eyes to see and ears to hear, just like Elisha prayed. [2 Kings 6:17]

    I suspect I’m going to weird out many more people but that’s okay because I’m not here to please men but my Father in heaven. I would rather be God’s fool rather than man’s genius anyday. Thank you for your very insightful article and I pray God’s blessings upon you and all who read your article. Good day!

  10. dans

    What you are saying does make sense.
    I always understood the quote to mean a person is so busy doing “works” they don’t notice the people around them that need Jesus.
    dans recently posted..Fight for my Honor

  11. John Simmons

    I’m sorry but I disagree. I think it’s totally possible to be so spiritually minded that you can be of no use here on earth. I just got off the phone with my mom and ended up hanging up on her because she just sounds like a broken record to me. She never had any useful or wisdom filled knowledge to pass along in my times of trial all she does is say the same things over and over and over again. All she ever does is sit around doing nothing talking about how she can’t wait for the rapture to come take her out of here. It’s always do funny to me because I can’t see God swooping up a bunch of lazy self centered people who profess with their mouths but unless the situation appears right in front of their field of view they never go out of their way to bring glory to the kingdom of God. I just think that there is going to be a lot of surprised”Christians” left behind when the rapture does happen.

  12. Eva

    I agree, but as for the validity of the cliché, we can stick to the purpose of the cliche, rather than getting caught up in the wording. In this case being heavenly minded is not the act of setting your mind on heavenly things. It’s being religiously closeminded, judgemental, pushy, and useless for the great commission. It is being someone who passes the superficial church test, and fails at true and effective Christianity. This statement isn’t an excuse for Christians to lay down their standards and become more like the world in hopes of being more palatable, but rather a call to integrity. As followers of Christ, we need to lead a life of worship, using wisdom and being spirit led in our methods of leading others to Christ. The world’s methods often fail to facilitate God’s message….. This lends to your point, of course, a point I agree with.
    In understating the meaning of this ‘cliche’, I also understand it’s validity… yet I can see how it can be misused… which is exactly why the BODY needs to stay away from clichés altogether, valid or invalid. The Bible has plenty of scriptures, no need to make any up, lol.

  13. Bridgette

    I think it’s clear by the divide in comments those who are spirit-filled and those who are not. Unfortunately even ‘spirt it filled’ believers choose to ignore parts of the bible about tongues, the believers authority of the works of darkness, and the operation of the gifts of the spirit. This is very sad indeed, and all the more reason why we need them all in operation! I think it’s interesting when even pastors will deny the word of god and embrace a worldly cliche for their sermon instead. Much prayer is needed for our Body in these times.
    Thank you josh, and Angelica for your statements of truth according to the Word. God bless you all!

  14. Andre

    I thank God for leading you to address this cliche’.

    I am amazed at how some who profess to know Christ is so opposed to his word.
    In John 10:27, Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
    I’ve also noticed how many seem to be upset or frustrated at believers for their lack of being a goid christian example, but no one seems to care about praying to God that they change to become pleasing to Him. Matthew 18:10; Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in Heaven.

    God has called us and saved us to be heavenly minded. Almost all of Jesus’ teachings are about what heaven is like. He teaches us this clearly because God wants

  15. Andre

    To know what heaven is like, and to look for heaven
    Luke 21:33-36 says; Heaven and earth will pass away; but my words shall not pass away.
    And take heed to yourselves, leat at any time your heats be overcharged with surfeiting (excess eating) and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unaware

  16. Andre

    For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
    Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

    Jesus commands, and warns us to watch for the signs of heaven and pray that we shall be couted worthy to escape. We are to constantly have a heavenly mind and not an earthly mind

  17. Andre

    It truly amazes me how many people on this site are ignoring what God is sayings and placing their focus on what this world says and then trying to make it appear as if its what God is saying.
    In Clolossians 3:1-2; If ye be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on thingsabove not on things on earth.

    The cliche’:” Don’t be so heavenly minded, that your no earthly good is directly opposed to the word of God and God’s will. I realize that not everyone in nor yet fully understand God’s purpose for instructing believers not to mind things on the earth and how difficult it is to accomplish that, but God who is perfect and infinitely wise is protecting us from sin, Satan, and eternal destruction.

  18. Andre

    I pray that everyone of you who truly desires to escape what scripture says will come upon the earth will seek God in prayer and in taking heed to his word I encourage you all, God encourages us all to be heavenly minded so that he can guide us through this and wicked whole. In Roman 7:5; says; For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh, but they that are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
    For to ne carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
    Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
    So then they that are of the flesh cannot please God.

    God commands us to go into all the world preaching

  19. Andre

    God commands us to go into all the world preaching the gospel to every nation, God commands us to
    to do good works, God commands us to let our light so shine before men that they glorify God
    God commands us to be heavenly minded.

    Thanks and God bless to Angelica who so graciously Brought God’s truth to light. May He continue to keep you, guide, strenghten you and enrich you with his wisdom, knowledge, and understanding through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as well as all the saints who believe and trust in him.

  20. Tim Brown

    Josh, Thanks for starting this conversation way back in 2011. It is amazing how God works. I’m preaching tomorrow and commenting on How Paul had a proper perspective on life. He knew that heaven awaited him and he greatly desired to be with Christ. Phil. 1:23-26 “I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.” Indeed Paul had the proper perspective. Because he knew what awaited him and because he knew that the eternal blessings far out weighed the earthly one’s he could preserver here on earth. His heavenly calling gave him an earthly ministry. Josh I agree with you many people don’t think about the heavenly things nearly as much as they should. It seems to me that this gives us hope and purpose today.

    There are many blessings in this world and God has given these for us to enjoy but if our only focus is upon those things and not the things of heaven I believe we run the risk of Coveting the things of earth rather than the things of heaven. At least from my perspective I don’t find that many Christians are coveting the things of heaven nearly as much as they covet those things that are hear on earth. I think our time on earth is a training ground for heaven and that heaven is the reward. Thankfully, because of God’s grace, we who believe can have a heavenly perspective and while we are hear on earth we like the Apostle Paul need to roll up our sleeves to help others learn to see and embrace the glories of heaven that await. Indeed if we don’t have our minds in the heavens we won’t have much of a message to offer those who are left down below.

    I think most of the comments I’ve read are saying similar things as they try to describe the elephant from different perspectives. Balance is key. Our Citizenship right now is in heaven!! but our mission is right her on earth. May our testimony to others appear to them as if we have indeed tasted heaven. I don’t know about you but when I think of heaven I smile and I have a new perspective, joy, and courage to minister here on earth.

  21. Andre

    expGod bless you brother Tim Brown
    I thank God and Jesus Christ our Redeemer for the grace he has given you
    to convey clearly and percisely his word as it pertains to this cliche: ” Don’t be so
    heavenly minded, that your no earthly good.”

    I rejoice when you said: ” by God’s grace, we who believe can have a heavenly perspective
    and like the Apostle Paul, need to roll up our sleeves and help others learn to see and
    embrace the glories of heaven”.

    But can you expound more clearly on what the consequences may be for
    those who do covet the things of the earth more than heavenly things
    since God does tell us not to covet the things of the earth

  22. Joshua

    God bless you brother, and i so hate this saying.
    When i read the Word of God, what i see is the mind of God.
    God is in heaven, and the born again believer is filled with His Spirit. For one we could not be no earthly good, without being heavenly mind. There is none good, no, not one. This saying is almost like saying, whats good is wrong.
    To truly be earthly good, is to be heavenly minded. We can’t be earthly good, and do the will of God. We have to be transformed by the renewing of our mind to prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Every good and perfect gift cometh down from the Father of lights. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who said My meat is to do the will of my Father which is in heaven. God bless!

  23. Kiera

    I really thought this cliche was scriptural. I’ve read many other posts on this cliche but this post stood out to me that I felt the need to comment. Yah (God) has placed it on my heart to delve into this area as well but not yet. Anyways I agree with you and I also agree that depending on one’s perspective it can be interepeted differently. At the end of the day I believe the only way to be of any earthly good is to be heavenly minded and anytime we try to water our heavenly mind, we let our flesh make our decisions instead of letting the Ruach (Spirit) do so.

    • Josh Monen

      Hi Kiera, good point. This cliche can certainly be interpreted different ways. I appreciate your thoughts on this. Thanks for reading!

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