"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." (Colossians 3:1-4 ESV)
Been thinking about the continuity of my identity through time. Many things change in my circumstances, character, status, relationships, and destiny. But it's the same me, the same consciousness, that goes through these changes.
We are told in this passage to live in accordance to what we are our in our heavenly identity, which is our position as redeemed in Christ. This will be our actual -- not just positional -- future identity, the future self, the then-me. Following the context, I am to put off certain attitudes and behaviors now and put on certain attitudes and behaviors now in light of my future glory.
The now-me (present me, present consciousness) knows there are many things the then-me (past identity, past consciousness) regrets. And if I had the opportunity, I would not repeat them. I wish the then-me would have known (then) about the now-me and not lived out certain things. I'm thinking here of past sins of commission and sins of omission.
But there is no going back, and in a certain sense all that has gone before has shaped the now-me and it's true that many of those things, though bad, resulted in some redemptive good by God's grace over time. But that doesn't change the fact that those sinful attitudes and choices were still essentially evil in themselves. God's future grace should never be an excuse for present sin.
This continuity of myself through time should spur me on to progressive good. What will I be like when actually and fully immersed in Christ's glory? What will I be thinking, and feeling, and doing, and enjoying? That will be me. And there remains a continuity between that future-me and the now-me. It's that realization which, among other motivations, should shape the direction of my life right now.
My present decisions, attitudes, and actions -- even right this very minute -- should all be shaped in the light of that future-me, standing in the glory of Jesus my Lord. I need to live now in the light of my future self.