Heaven Minded, Earth Abstaining: Christians Should Be Change Makers

Why Many Christians Aren’t Change makers.

Heaven mindedness need not lead to abstaining from the issues that face humanity on earth. Many of us Christians pray.

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

The key phrase is “be done on earth” but the question is: By who? Not by you? Then by who?

I am proudly African and a Christian. I believe in going to heaven and want to go to heaven, or at least not end up in Hell. Not that I know of a third option. But as humans, we are all more motivated to avoid pain (hell) than we are to pursue joy (heaven). But I cringe a lot at the often vociferously emphasized teaching about being “Heaven-minded” in most churches on the continent.

Why does that make me cringe? The way it is taught has driven many Christians to a lifestyle of abstinence and indifference about the things that directly affect our lives here and now. How? The too much unguided and non-contextualized emphasis on not focusing on the “things of this world.” We have to focus on the things of earth. We live here and we were sent here by our Creator for a purpose.

Talk to some Christians and you can’t help but wonder if they are high on something. It is as though some do not think or use their brains. They seem to live in an alternate reality under the mask of being heavenly minded, belief or faith. They sound intoxicated, drunk on illusion, oblivious of reality, or in denial of it.

Belief and faith are increasingly empowering inaction among Christians — which is the opposite of what they are meant to do. It is no longer “I believe therefore I act” but “I believe and have faith therefore it shall be done.” The question, by who? Haven’t we noticed things don’t just “come to pass”? It takes deliberate action for things to be done and someone has to take the action. We have to take the action because we belief and have faith in God.

What is ludicrous and also really sad about this is that those who have chosen this abstinence and inaction also complain about life being hard, perhaps even louder. How else would life be? Like what did you expect?

Life is hard. Life is suffering. And you can’t pray suffering away. You can’t pray change into existence. You can’t pray problems away. You can’t even pray your hunger and thirst away. But you can pray for strength to work; for intelligence and wisdom to solve your community’s problems and problems facing the world; you can pray for courage to stand up to oppression, corruption; for a voice to speak up for the voiceless; for authority and power to represent the interest of the sidelined… Aren’t these the will of God — Thy will? You can pray for God to help you to do what he sent you here to do_His will.

Thy will be done? Then spend less time reciting the phrase and more time doing. Spend less time telling an all-knowing God about your problems and more time deliberating and working out the solutions and seeking His guidance while working. Spend less time asking God what to do and more time exploring the options he has already presented to you that you know and can see. That is true prayer.

A warrior isn’t a warrior if he’s praying on his knees all the time. A warrior bows his knee in prayer for a while, asks for strength, and continues praying on the battlefield. Are you a prayer warrior in a prayer closet only? You might be missing the point. I am not saying you are but you might be. Think about it.

Do you think Martin Luther King Junior was a prayer warrior and a prophet? I bet. Martin Luther King Junior: “I have a dream…” And he led all people, regardless of their creed, into action that changed history__ended segregation. Think about that for a second. Today there’s no segregation in America, at least, not openly. King didn’t pray that into existence. He didn’t prophesy it only in auditoriums to get people excited. He was on the streets. He worked it out with God on his side. He prayed. He had other people join him. Not just other Christians but all who shared the dream God gave him. Creed doesn’t matter when the dream is truly for human life transformation, for suffering alleviation, for a better future for one’s children. Who doesn’t want that?

Photo by The New York Public Library on Unsplash

Take a good look at the campaign poster above in 1968. How sharp is the contrast: Today, preachers don’t campaign for poor people but to poor people for something or someone else, usually something that serves their interest.

Where are teachers of the word, preachers, prophets today who have a dream for the peopl? Why has the dream of the church turned to shipping people’s minds to heaven as if God is incapable of bringing his children home? Do we not know that Salvation is already given? That we are by that salvation destined for heaven? I am not saying don’t be heaven-minded. I am emphasizing that going to heaven is not the reason we are here. I am emphasizing that we are meant for heaven as long as we belief Christ. But we have a purpose here on earth. I am saying don’t abstain that purpose because you are being too heaven-minded.

Listen to the dreams and visions and prophesies of “ministers” of God today. Most of them are utterly useless, if not only for the purpose of making the masses revere the prophet. You hear a prophet predicting the team that’s going to win the upcoming sports competition, world cup. Or the politician that’s going to win an election. That’s the same guy who’s telling you to not care about the things of this world. The same person telling you to be “heaven-minded”. That’s messed up. Noticed he is not invested in who the best leader will be. He simply wants to say, “I said it an it came to pass”. If that’s what his god is showing him in his visions I am certain that I don’t care and I definitely doubt if his god cares about people. Because what use is that vision even if it came to pass?

Servants of God no longer see visions about true human life transformation. They have no visions about the future of their nations and no desire to lead people to a better future. Prophets see visions of fire falling. When I hear that, I am like “Great! What should we do about that?” Prophets see visions about politicians who will win the elections. And have you noticed they don’t seem to care about who would make a better leader? The goal here is to make an accurate prediction. They prophesize about planes that will crash, and yes the planes crash. What’s cynical is the seeming satisfaction when they say “I said it and it happened just as I said.” Yeah, right! But where is the hope in that?

Many prophesies today spoken or not spoken are useless except in projecting a superstar accurate predictor. But guess what; machines have gotten pretty good at predicting so many unthinkable things accurately as well. Have you heard of artificial intelligence yet? Do you use weather prediction apps? Trust me those predictions aren’t produced by an assembly of prophets somewhere. They are made by computers using large amounts of data and their predictions are accurate a great deal of the time.

How useful or edifying are prophecies today? Are there prophets who speak for the future and good of the nations today? Where are prophets like Daniel in the bible, Martin Luther King Junior in recent history? I feel that as Christians we do not pay attention enough. Go to your bible and look at the prophets God raised for Israel. They were always in response to what Israel was going through as a nation and they gave direction of where Israel needed to go. When did God raise Daniel for Israel? Contrast that with the prophets “God has raised” for Nigeria, Cameroon, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Africa. Does God not care about these nations and the collective dreams and the futures of their people? I know He does. What’s the problem then? Definitely us; not God. Many who claim to be heaven-minded aren’t even really. It’s a mask to abstain facing the realities of existence and taking up their purpose, picking up their cross and following Christ who definitely lived a purpose-driven life. He didn’t spend his life wishing to go to heaven. He knew he was going back to the Father. But what about us today?

Men of God today have become specialists in mass hypnotism. They are powerful, riveting, highly skilled speakers capable of leading change. But no; they won’t lead any real truly desirable change. That’s following in the footsteps of Christ — a tough path to follow. And I understand why no one will want to go down the road of leading some types of change, especially in Africa. I really do. There are a lot of good reasons not to want to upset the status quo. We are scared of the consequences that invites and rightly so. We have examples too of how the lives of people who fulfilled difficult purposes was and how their lives ended: Daniel in the Bible, Jesus, Martin Luther King Junior. Not easy lives. Anyone risks his life and that of his family in addressing some problems. Who wants to live in threat, danger, watching his back and over his shoulder all the time, fearing for the safety of the people he loves? No one for very compelling reasons. We all relate to and understand that.

But what I can’t understand or relate to is why today’s preachers, almost all of them in escaping the difficult road of true transformation are trying to get everyone to simply dream of a better hereafter, be heaven-minded. Can we really live in a world where people are just “heaven-minded”? What will that look like? Can we really afford to not focus on the things that affect us here and now? Can we afford to not care about the things of this world? I don’t think we like nightmares and I think that’s the world we will slide into if too many of us get high on this heaven-mindedness. We need purpose-mindedness and purpose can only be fulfilled on earth. Even Jesus had to come to earth to fulfill his purpose. But for us, we want to escape the difficult task of fulfilling purpose and just go to heaven where all is nice and good. We want to cheat life or our own contribution.

So, let the charisma on the pulpit flow towards creating a better world. Like seriously, churches should stop being expanding echo chambers of hypnotic good feelings and fantasies about heaven that cause people to abstain from solving real problems that affect us here today.

We all need to be earth-minded, purpose-minded. And for crying out loud, we don’t even know what it means to be heaven-minded. Not really. What the hell does that really mean, be heaven-minded?

Earth-mindedness is why there is Earth in the first place. God wasn’t thinking about heaven when he made the earth and put man in it. Or are we really going to believe that the purpose of our being here on earth was just to go somewhere else? Like God in all his wisdom was thinking about heaven (heaven-minded) and then decided — Oh let me create Earth? As what? For what? A demonstration ground?

For those who wanna believe heaven is the ultimate goal/purpose of life on earth, why aren’t they excited to go to heaven as soon as possible? Why not go today? How about right now? Generally, we want to reach our destination as soon as possible. But when it comes to heaven, that people act as if it is the place they’re living for, no one wants to bodge. You want to go to heaven right? Why does the thought of going there now not excite you? You should go now if you wanted it so badly.

Photo by khaby lame

But the reality is, people aren’t excited about going to heaven soon. If we are told we are going to our dream amusement park tomorrow, many of us will barely sleep. “I can’t wait.” Many will think. We are excited to go there. Going to Heaven doesn’t inspire the same feeling, does it? How many will excitedly “Go to Heaven Today”? How great would you feel to know you’ll go to heaven next month? Who can’t wait? And why is that? Is it that we hate to go to heaven? No!!! We want to go to heaven but we also don’t want to go to heaven just yet right? Hmmm… Why? Because we feel there are things we should do here first, usually meaningful things. Is it then possible that the purpose of being here is to do those meaningful things? So why do some churches want to make people to forget doing those things with some heaven-minded intoxication? Why not focus on teaching people how to get things done on earth? Does that make any sense?

My point here is: there is meaning to be achieved in being on earth. That meaning is wrapped in doing certain things, deliberately with God working with us, and for us. Convincing people that the real thing is to go somewhere “unknown” is to deny or trivialize their present struggle, present suffering, God-given dreams, and purpose. We need to wake up and realize that “Thy will be done on earth is the reason why we are here on earth and stop focusing on going where “Thy will” is already done a.k.a Heaven. If we focus on doing “Thy will” here on earth, we don’t even have to concern ourselves with being heaven-minded to go to heaven. We will go to heaven as a result. And when our time to go to heaven actually arrives, we will realize we don’t have much resistance to leaving this world behind because we would have truly lived life in all its fullness.

And just in case you are wondering what “Thy will” for you is, I bet you, somehow you have had a glimpse of it. You carry it. It is not outside of yourself, not in a book written in 12AD, not on a mountain you can’t climb, not anywhere you could or couldn’t go. It is right within you. You might need to climb a mountain to connect some dots and gain more clarity about it or go somewhere to make it a reality, but, for always, You carry Thy Will within you. It’s always been with you — Thy Holy and Perfect will. Now that you are Earth-Purpose-Minded, go within and start living your unique life according to Thy will for you here on earth. And whether you’ve found it or you are yet to find it, don’t settle. Keep searching.

If you are wondering who is speaking? I am a nobody. The Holy Spirit didn’t speak to me, didn’t send me actually. I am just a guy sitting on his bed on Sunday morning, not properly dressed thinking out loud in writing. I should actually be in Church. So don’t take my thoughts for wisdom in itself. Don’t take them as they are. Think for yourself. The only goal I am trying to achieve here is to get us to think and think critically about our lives here on earth. Could our life, struggles, suffering, pain, joys, dreams, purpose, and even death make sense here without heaven in the equation? Could they make sense if this earth was all there is and nowhere else? Could God have intended for it to be all about Earth and us lifting each other up here and bringing to earth the Kingdom of Heaven rather than leaving earth? I, like many Christians, am scared of questioning my beliefs sometimes but I think we are better off if we think critically about them and ask questions than if we just throw blanket judgments. In my understanding:

Thinking and Believing are not mutually exclusive.

Things don’t change. We change and then we change things.

Hope is a bad strategy. Don’t just hope it will change. Change it.