It’s the long-shadow season… a late-October Saturday afternoon. Alabama has just kicked off to Tennessee, and the rest of life has been put on hold. I’ve got the snacks and drinks, recliner set to football position, and it’s a glorious day.
That’s when I hear it. In those few seconds before the doorbell rings and the dogs go crazy, I hear the giggles of a gaggle of adolescents.
Two thoughts immediately flash by:
- I am obviously not living in Dixie, because nobody in their right mind there would be roaming the streets when the Tide ‘n’ Vols are on TV.
- I’m about to be scavenger hunted.
Sure enough, I open the door to a group of teenagers, and one of ‘em hands me a list. “We’re on a scavenger hunt. Do you have any of these things?”
Game on (while the other game is on pause).
What if I were to tell you that you’ve been commissioned to a hunt of your own? Only this isn’t for a random list of household junk.
I’m talking treasure, friends. Of cosmic. colossal proportions.
Check this out. I read it the other day and noticed something I’d never seen before. Notice the references to “hiding” and “seeking.”
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory (Colossians 3:1-4).
As I mentioned the other day, I have seen the “raised up” part and the “died” part before. But the idea of being “hidden with Christ in God” was God’s version of a spiritual door bell. It stopped me in my tracks.
Did you know that if you are a Christ-follower, you have been hidden? Because your ultimate identity is found in Christ, and He is, in a sense, “in hiding” too, you have been hidden away. But this is no passive spectator sport. You’ve been called into the game.
And so the adventure begins… and you are the key player.
Interesting that he doesn’t say, “you have died and you are buried.” Bury is what you do to permanently dead things. It’s a form of disposal. Hiding is what you do to something that’s still “in play,” waiting to be found or redeemed at a later time.
What does it mean that you are hidden? We’re talking the ultimate game of hide and seek – a cosmic treasure hunt. When anyone trusts Christ, God puts their old life to death, and a part of them that was spiritually dead has come to life.
But God has also hidden a significant part of us… then commanded us to search for our true selves as we search for Christ.
Hiding is used in development. The best example is the growth of a baby in its mother’s womb. The child remains hidden away until he is fully developed.
Another example is the craftsmanship of a sculptor, who keeps his work in hiding until it is finished and ready to be revealed.
In a similar way, God has taken you to a place in which He is transforming you to His image – spiritually forming you into His likeness.
Hiding is a form of protection. That’s why you don’t leave the family’s priceless jewels on the kitchen table. You hide them from potential thieves.
The Lord does the same thing with you. As you trust Him as your Lord and Savior, He hides you from the effects of death, sin, and Satan, in order to seal what He has accomplished from the attacks of the enemy or the designs of a thief.
Hiding is a way of stating the value of something or someone. I hide my most cherished things if there is any danger of them being stolen or damaged. You can have the paper plates and plasticware. But if you plan to raid my real treasures, you’re gonna have to do some digging.
So when the Lord says your life is hidden with Christ in God, He is making an important announcement: You are a priceless treasure to Him.
Let that sink in for a minute.
Hiding is a form if intrigue. Kids learn this early with Easter eggs and Hide-and-Seek. To draw out someone I love, I may hide something in hopes they will look for it… and in looking for it, in a sense, look for me.
The Lord does the same thing. He leaves little clues, and drops little hints. He stirs our hearts with longing for something that feels like “home” – then makes us painfully aware that what we’re living in now isn’t it. He calls to us in our dreams, stirs our hearts through music or art, or sings to us in the language of the beloved. All the while, He urges us to seek Him out – knowing that in doing so, we are searching for our true selves.
Hiding is a form of discrimination (in the good sense). Some things are hidden to some people, but revealed to others as a form of bonding. So Jesus revealed the parables to the disciples and kept them hidden from the public at large. So we hide the key to our house, but reveal it to people we trust (Let’s see… was it under the brick or in the flower pot?).
So when Paul says you are hidden with Christ in God, he is saying that you are a part of something that sets you apart from the rest of the world. You are part of an inner circle of truth and understanding. In other words… you belong.
To Seek the Things Above…
…is to seek that part of us that is:
- being formed into His likeness
- completely secure in God’s protection
- of infinite worth, value, and desirability
- an intriguing treasure worth seeking
- an intimate part of God’s family, to whom He is revealing Himself.
I don’t know about you, but for me that’s a whole lot more motivating than the list of “dos” and “don’ts” that drive self-righteous legalists. All the points of discovery and transformation I need are found, not in keeping the checklist, but in seeking Christ and His resurrection life.
I’d like to invite you to join me on the journey.
Seeking the higher things involve renewing our minds regularly – reminding ourselves that we are fully alive and hidden with Christ in heaven. It means recognizing the emotional triggers that call us to intimacy with Him, and renouncing all claims of the world system on our values and priorities.
Seeking the higher things means that the older we get, we’re just one step closer to that day when we will be revealed in Christ fully. In the meantime, we choose to recognize that God sees us as His redeemed creation, of infinite worth – so valuable that He would hide us away and protect us from outward attacks or decay.
Seeking the higher things means recognizing His hidden work in family and friends – seeing them as people whom God has hidden as a treasure. It means helping them seek out and see the treasure that is their hidden worth in Christ.
The Adventure of a Lifetime
This is a search that will last a lifetime. The treasure is hidden, and the clues are in place. Every discovery will lead to another clue, another adventure.
But is it worth it? The waiting… the yearning… the searching… the denials?
Oh my, yes. Here’s what Paul says about it:
As it is written –
“No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him”—
but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:9-10, NIV).
Hide and Seek, friends.
And you’re It.