Five Directions How to Get our Hearts Free from Earthly-Mindedness

Five Directions How to Get our Hearts Free from Earthly-Mindedness

by Jeremiah Burroughs

The First Direction

Firstly, in order to be disengaged from earthly things, be watchful over your thoughts. Do not allow your mind to wander too far into worldly matters. Spend as much time as you can in meditation on spiritual things. Many people think it is okay to let their thoughts roam free, as the things they think about are not necessarily sinful. However, thoughts can easily lead to a wandering heart, so it is important to keep a close eye on your thoughts and make sure they align with what is written in Scripture.

The Second Direction

Another way to become disengaged from earthly-mindedness is to be humble and deeply repentant for sin. Those who have a heart that is set on the world have not truly understood the weight and burden of sin. But when God lays the weight and burden of sin upon the soul, it quickly takes the focus off earthly things. People who have experienced the crushing weight of sin know what it means to have to deal with an infinite God. When they are burdened by the wrath of a just God, they realize that there are more important things to focus on than the things of this life. If God would humble your heart, the humility of your spirit would awaken you, remove the dullness and deadness of your spirit, and stir you up to look beyond the things of this life.

The Third Direction

Furthermore, let us look at the examples of the saints who were the most precious servants of God in the past. Notice how they regarded themselves as pilgrims and strangers in this world. Take your time to read Hebrews 11:13, which says, "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth."

So, let us take note of the following verse, which says, "They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword, they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented." Who were these people? They were those whom the world did not deserve. They wandered in deserts, mountains, dens, and caves of the earth. Nevertheless, they were such valuable saints of God that the world did not deserve them. As we reflect on how joyfully these servants of the Almighty went through all their wilderness experiences, this should make us feel ashamed of our earthly-mindedness, and would be a significant help to us.

The Fourth Direction

Moreover, if we consider the great account we must give for all earthly things, we will realise that we only focus on the comfort of these things. But we must also think about the account we must give for them. This should help to take our hearts off earthly-mindedness. Additionally, we should ask ourselves, what good it would be to remember the contentments and pleasures we had in this world if we were to die and go the way of all flesh?

The Fifth Direction

Above all, keep your focus on Jesus Christ and meditate on His death. That is the greatest thing that will take your heart away from earthly things. Contemplate Christ crucified, how He, who was the Lord of heaven and earth, put Himself in a lowly condition solely to redeem us. Contemplating the death of Jesus Christ will cause your heart to become deadened to the world. In Philippians 3, we find a notable text for this, in the example of Paul. He counted everything as dung and rubbish for the sake of Jesus Christ. In the 8th verse, he says, "I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake, I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ." Then, in the 10th verse, he adds, "That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death."

Paul desired to be so conformed to the death of Christ that he counted all things in the world as rubbish in comparison to that. Paul kept the death of Christ in his thoughts and meditated on it often, and that meditation had a great impact on his spirit. It made him consider all these things as rubbish, as dog food by comparison, in order to have fellowship with the death of Christ.

Some of you may be thinking about the glory of Christ in heaven, and that may, for the time being, make you less worldly. But let me encourage you to meditate on the death of Christ and understand that there is an excellence in conforming even to the death of Christ, such an excellence that may take your heart away from the things of the world. It is said of the King of France that he once asked about an eclipse, saying, "I have so much business on earth that I take little notice of the things of heaven."

My dear brothers and sisters, in conclusion, I urge you not to be counted among those who are so preoccupied with worldly pleasures that they have no time for Jesus Christ. Do not argue that you have so many earthly responsibilities that you cannot pay attention to heavenly things. Surely, the saints of God have their focus on things above, and we will see this in the future. Their business, trading, and goals are all focused on higher things than the things of this world. There are things that a person can devote their thoughts and affections to as much as they want. This shows the emptiness of the things of this world, that a person must be very careful how much they care about them. They cannot enjoy the comforts of this world without some fear. But when they converse with heaven, they can give themselves over completely. This demonstrates the excellence of these heavenly things.

Those of you who are poor and lowly in the things of this world, do not be discouraged because God commands us not to set our minds on them. Surely, these things are not very important since God tells us not to focus on them. Oh, the true value lies in things that are heavenly and spiritual, where the saints have their conversation! 


Source: A Treatise on Earthly-Mindedness