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.
This is really hard.
As children of God, we are called to take every thought captive to obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10), to be transformed by the renewal of our minds (Romans 12), to seek first His kingdom (Matthew 6), and as the above passage says, to seek the things that are above, where Christ is. As children of God, we are called to have a perspective that is not like that of the worlds'; but one that is eternal and God-centered.
And it really is just hard. It's hard because every fiber of our fleshly being fights this. We don't want to submit our thoughts to the Lord. It's easier to succumb to our temptations and give in to indwelling sin; it's easier to give into thoughts of lust, fear, idolatry, abandonment, laziness, anger, apathy, loneliness, rage, insecurity. Our flesh doesn't want our minds to be renewed because it hurts. It forces us to come face to face with our sin and our pride and see how desperately we need help because we can't do it alone. We don't want to seek His kingdom first, because it's really comfortable to reside in our own kingdoms. It's easy to make our own plans and hold onto the tight grip of control that we believe we have over our lives. We don't want to seek the things that are above, because that means we have to say goodbye to what's here. It means we have to open up our clinched fists and let go of what we hold dear.
I'm continually learning this right now. This past year has been a year of the Lord tenderly, lovingly, and patiently prying my hands loose of what I hold dear. He's brought me into the center of deep fears and insecurities, and it's there that He's reminding me that He is near. He is good. He is love.
Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her...
He's allowed me to feel deep and real sadness and hurt, and it's there that He's reminded me, and is daily reminding me, of His kindness and love. He's bringing about so much change in my life that it's really overwhelming some days, and it's there that He's reminding me that He's sufficient and unchanging and wise and peace. It's there that's He's reminding me to keep my eyes fixed on Him, the author and perfecter of my faith. (Hebrews 12). It's there that He's teaching me how to order my thoughts in a holy, eternal, God-centered way.
Life is so much more than my whirling mind and up and down emotions that I feel on any given day. It's so much more than any temporal pleasure I experience or long to experience. It's so much more than the dream job or loving husband or first home or paid off car or masters degree or home full of kids or well sculpted body. In and of themselves, those things aren't bad, but when they're void of an eternal perspective, all they do is end in futility. When I begin to not only realize, but believe, the purpose of my life is to bring recognition and glory to God, it changes my perspective.
You were created to live for something vastly bigger than you and only grace can make you willing and able. You were hardwired to live for God, so even though you may not be aware of it, every good or bad thing you do today has verticality to it. Remember that every physical, situational, relational gory you'll experience today is meant to point you to the glory of God.
As Colossians 3 says, my life is hidden with Christ in God. He's called me into His grand and beautiful story of redemption. How small my wrestles and struggles are in comparison to the future glory that awaits me. How great is the need to share the gospel and the hope found in Jesus, because one day He is returning and making all things new- and in light of that, today is the day of salvation! How vital and important it is to walk in obedience with a transformed mind and an eternal perspective. Oh, to truly understand and believe what this means.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen, but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others....
For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised...
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 4-5