Links Daily Devotional

In the Open or Hidden Away?

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:2, NIV)

In golf we call the specific awareness of how a course is best played “local knowledge.”

In general, the unique nuances of a course are not so guarded a secret as that great fishing spot you’ve been keeping to yourself, but the circumstances can change come tournament time. A member competing in the event may hold back on any number things he knows for the purpose of maintaining a home course advantage. While we might call a less discreet member generous, we wouldn’t begrudge those who are tight-lipped about the distinctions of their course—that’s the competitor’s prerogative.

From a truly fixed heart, we shine brightest, for the light is not our own but the light of Christ in us.I am led to this dichotomy—the guarding of powerful information and the revealing of it—by a similar circumstance I find in Scripture. Jesus told his listeners during the Sermon on the Mount that they were to let their good deeds shine publicly that they may bring glory to God. Yet later Paul wrote that the lives of believers are hidden with Christ in God.

This may on the surface be riddling. Is our faith a public one or a private one? Certainly, we find evidence of both approaches in church traditions and the individual lives of believers.

In the end, though, we can uphold both.

Let’s begin with Paul’s words, which we find in our central verse today. Our lives are hidden with Christ in God. They are, in an original Greek rendering that will spark instant recognition, kryptō. Secret. Coded, as it were. Written so that only those on the inside can recognize it. You cannot go out and buy friendship with God in the public market. It is available from a single source alone: Christ.

Moreover, your life in Christ is to be hidden as a treasure is hidden. It is infinitely valuable and must be protected. While many influences in our culture would have easy access to our hearts and—at the impetus of the enemy, Satan—rob us of all we have special with Jesus, we must “guard [our] heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23). We have been given pearls; we do not throw them to swine (Matthew 7:6).

When our heart is so guarded, we are then prepared to take up Jesus’ metaphors of a city on a hill that cannot be hidden and the lamp bringing light to a dark room. From a truly fixed heart, we shine brightest, for the light is not our own but the light of Christ in us. Now our faith moves into the public eye. It is as “children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation” that we “shine like stars in the universe, holding out the word of life” (Philippians 2:15-16).

Jeff Hopper
June 5, 2017
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