“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and idle babbling, for they will increase to more ungodliness” (2 Timothy 2:15-16).
I don’t have to tell you that the meaning of words seems to have changed quite a bit over the years. Words that were once considered course jesting and idle talk are often just “humor” today. Take for example the phrase “don’t be so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good”. Makes for a good giggle at times but let us really consider the effect of those words.
First of all, I think this is one of those phrases that should be file in the idle talk category; along with “don’t wear your religion on your sleeve” and “don’t spiritualize everything”! I am convinced that these words are responsible for the compromise of many and the diluting of people’s faith.
Where is the balance between heavenly minded and earthly good? Why should I tuck my faith away instead of making it evident? Isn’t everything spiritual?
Yes, I know some of us are already in a frenzy to justify these phrases. After all, aren’t they just words? Well guess what, like sticks and stones, words really to break us; they break our spirits and diminish the faith of many. They put out the fire in new believers and in those who internalize these things and struggle with doubt. Words like these are – in part – responsible for people not wanting to talk about their faith in the workplace, schools, and other public places. They endorse spiritual laziness and give people an excuse for not sharing the gospel with others. In other words, they increase to more ungodliness.
Unless we are heavenly minded how can we be any earthly good? Isn’t God, who is in heaven, the giver of good things? If our hearts and minds are not heavenward where will they be?
I personally think many of these phrases were introduced by those of little faith. They may say these things to new believers, who may well say something wrong, in an effort to keep them from charging the evangelistic field too soon. But isn’t that sending the wrong message? Isn’t that just leaning on human understanding and confidence? The Holy Spirit speaks through whomever He chooses; the non-believer, new believer, and mature believer alike. Speaking these things send the message that we have no faith in those people, which in itself points to a problem in our faith because it is both misplaced and weak.
Instead, “Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10: 24-25).
We are to glorify God in our thoughts, words, and deeds. Don’t cause the mind that dwells on God to retreat for earth! Don’t cause bold believers to make an effort to hide their faith! Don’t encourage people to ignore the spiritual!
In a time when many are denying God, it’s time for us true believers to be bold in our faith and glorify our Father in heaven.