Read Colossians 3.
In many different ways, Christ calls us to live in the present based on things that are past or future. In the present we have to live in a fallen world and we struggle against the instincts of our fallen nature. But we came to know Christ in the past and when that happened we were “raised with Christ” (past, v. 1a). In the future, we’re told that our life “is now hidden with Christ in God” (v. 2) and will be delivered to us fully and finally “when Christ who is your life appears” (future, v. 3).
So what do these past and future events have to do with us now?
First, they call us to “set our hearts on things above” (v. 1b). The reason is that that is “where Christ is” (v. 1c). Since he is our Lord and the one we long to love and know, our thoughts belong where he is.
And what is he doing there? He is “seated at the right hand of God.” This is the place of victory and also his place of intercession for us. In Christ, then, we have everything we need to succeed in godliness today. We have his power which raised him from the dead, his promise that we will see him when he returns, and his victory and intercession for us while we wait.
So, what do we do while we wait?
We “put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature” (v. 5). These are things that belong to this world, this age. When people indulge in “sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry” they are showing that their hearts are set on this age rather than “on things above, where Christ is” (v. 1c).
When we clothe ourselves with “with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (v. 12) and “bear with each other and forgive one another” we are acting consistently with hearts that are set on things that are above because these are qualities that Christ embodies himself, that he has shown toward us and that he calls us to demonstrate toward others.