I Am Hidden In Christ

Reblog: An Orange Stocking Cap

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the [life] which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20, NKJV

My husband is a hunter–he comes from a family of all boys, and they grew up hunting. Camo is an actual color in our house. More than that, it’s the hue of preference–especially at Christmas time. And that stuff’s not cheap; boy those Cabela brothers knew what they were doing!

So, that leads to a funny story. As a family, we went skiing with my husband’s parents and brothers several years ago. You know how skiers have kind-of a definitive look? North Face or Columbia Coats. Coordinated snow pants and hats/gloves. Expensive goggles.

Then you have the boarders. Also, a unique style. Usually baggy, and much bolder. If you’ve been to a slope, you know what I’m talking about.

Well, my father-in-law had a style, but it wasn’t either of those. It was the hunter’s style. Designed to be inconspicuous in the woods (with the exception of that obnoxious orange), it did NOT blend with white powder. He stuck out like–well like a guy wearing his hunting coveralls and an orange stocking cap on a ski slope. Whenever we’d lose track of him, we just sat back and waited. Sure enough, that hunters-orange would pop out like a red bulb on a string of white Christmas lights. We laughed the whole day.

I thought of that tonight as I pondered Paul’s words, and the memory still makes me chuckle. But it really helps define this idea of being hidden in Christ. See, putting on Christ, being covered by Him, defined by Him, will often mean that I stick out like a guy in full camo at a yuppie ski resort.

Thing is, my father-in-law really didn’t care what all those people thought of him. He was just being himself, and he didn’t feel the need to try to fit in.

If I am dead to myself and alive in Christ, I need that kind of boldness. I need to wear Christ in a world that values success above service, and self-promotion over love. I need to be okay with the snickers that will inevitably come. I need to be more concerned with being hidden in Jesus than with blending in with the masses.

So, maybe it’s like wearing an orange hat. But a life hidden in Christ will be worth sticking out in a crowd.

I Am Hidden In Christ

Reblog: Hiding In Him When I’m Hurt

God, hear my voice when I complain.  Protect my life from the terror of the enemy.  Hide me from the scheming of wicked people, from the mob of evildoers, who sharpen their tongues like swords and aim bitter words like arrows … The righteous one rejoices in the Lord and takes refuge in Him; all those who are upright in heart will offer praise.  Psalm 64:1-3, 10 HCSB

I love King David.  He was so real, and I am so thankful he poured his imperfect heart out in all these Psalms.  Sometimes I wonder if his willingness to tell God everything he felt was what made him “a man after God’s own heart.”  God longs for relationship.  He longs to be my best friend, which means he wants to hear … my complaints.

I complain to my husband, my sister, and my mother.  I tell them the yucky parts of my heart as well as the good.  And here David complains to his creator.  “These people are being really, really mean to me.  They are talking horrible about me, disrespecting me, hurting my reputation and undermining my authority.  And, they are just plain old hurting my feelings, too.  Hide me from them, God.”

That’s the part that drew my attention today.  “Hide me from the scheming of wicked people.”  David sought his solution in God alone.  He didn’t take it upon himself to punish his enemies.  He didn’t go slandering them around town.  He took his wounded heart to God Himself.

And by the end of his psalm, he was feeling better … better enough to offer God praise.  He trusted God to take care of the problem.

May I do the same. May I take my conflicts with others to God Himself, asking Him to work out the solutions instead of trying to manipulate circumstances to “fix” them on my own.  When I am hurt, may I hide in Him.

I Am Hidden In Christ

Reblog: Metamorphosis

“Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” ~Romans 7:24-25a, NASB

Can I identify with Paul? Absolutely. And I’m finding that it is often in the lonely desert places in my life that God reveals to me the areas that need work. The hidden spots of anger, resentment, selfishness and conceit. He brings them up to the surface so that I can see them for what they are. Yuck.

I don’t like that. I don’t like to see the ugliness stored up inside of me. In frustration and embarrassment, I cry out to him, “Please take it away!”

A question floats to the top at that moment:  Take the sin, or just the view of that sin? What is it I really want? Disguise or metamorphosis? Because the thing is, real change takes time and investment. By God’s power, for sure, this heart can be molded, but it requires not only my yielding, but also practice. That’s hard.

During a Sunday school lesson this week I was reminded of this slow process of transformation. We studied the butterfly recently, and talked about how God can transform our lives through Christ, just like that caterpillar is transformed from a worm to a winged creature.

In our home, we recently watched the metamorphosis process. We have a crop of black swallowtail caterpillars hatch on my parsley, and my daughter kept one in her bug jar. She fed it, kept its habitat clean, and watched as the little thing ate and grew, and ate and grew–and then finally change.  We noticed a few things while we watched:20140804_071716

  1. The caterpillar consumed the parsley with ravenous hunger. It didn’t stop to take a nap, nor did it deviate from the parsley. It ate only that herb, and it did it with amazing efficiency. Made me wonder, do I hunger for God’s Word like that?
  2. The little thing grew proportionally to its eating. It also began taking on a greenish hue in the spots where it had once been white. It began showing on the outside what it was putting in the inside. Am I putting inside what I want to shine through on the outside?
  3. Once it had nestled in its chrysalis, the waiting began. It took a long time! Daily, the question was, “will it hatch today?” I want to hatch now, but clearly it’s not time. Am I willing to wait for God’s perfect timing?
  4. Amazingly (and I know that most have seen this happen, so it’s nothing new—except it’s still mind-blowing) when that black swallowtail emerged, she looked nothing like yellow and white (greenish) caterpillar. We watched in wonder while she stretched her new wings, wiggled her new antennae, and tested her new, spindly legs. Everything about her had changed—she was brand new! This brought the Psalms to mind: “Why are you downcast, oh my soul? Put your hope in God!”

That kind of transformation takes time.  I’m reminded of the verses we started the week with: “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 3:3-4, NASB)

Who I am in Christ has not yet been entirely revealed. I am hidden, as though in a cocoon, awaiting the day when I will be revealed as I truly am in Him. What a thought! He is not done with me yet.

I Am Hidden In Christ

Reblog: Hidden Under His Wings

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust!” … He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you make seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark. Psalm 91:1,4

I grew up in a big city, and it took moving to a bush village in West Africa to familiarize me with chickens.  They were suddenly a huge part of my life – always pecking around underfoot, crowing before the sun even thought about rising, getting all suicidal by running in front of my truck.  African friends gave me dozens.  Poultry was the accepted “thank you” gift, even if all I was being thanked for was a visit and a nice, long chat.

Mostly, I just endured my new feathered annoyances … I mean friends.  But, the one thing I loved about them was watching a mother hen with her fluffy little brood of chicks.  At night, she’d snuggle them down under her wings.  They’d disappear – hidden under her body.  How safe and secure those little ones were. Nothing was going to get them that didn’t go through Mother Hen first.

I loved watching that because of these verses.  Finally, I could picture it – God, snuggling me under His wings, protecting me from predators that would love to dine on my downy weakness.  God, hiding me in his vastness.

That isn’t to say that physical harm won’t assail me.  Jesus made it clear that often, following Him will bring us into danger.  But, those perils can only destroy my body.  My soul, the true me, is safely hidden with God, whether I dwell on Earth or in Heaven.

And Satan’s firey darts, the doubts and fears and faith-snatchers he hurls at me?  If I stay hidden under God’s wings, those things can’t hurt me.

My God is a shield and bulwark for me.  How thankful I am to be hidden in Him.

I Am Hidden In Christ

Looking Back: Remembering that I Am Hidden in Christ

The Lord is my rock and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength in who I trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation and my high tower.” – Ps. 18:2, NASB

What do butterflies, chickens, Africa, and an orange stocking cap have in common? Hide-and-seek, silly! Okay, maybe not really, but we’ll be talking about that quirky list this week.

I am hidden in Christ. He conceals me, yet sets me apart. He keeps me safe even as earthly storms rage. He comforts me, changes me, claims me, and never, ever lets me go. He is my rock, my deliverer, my strength, and my salvation.

Are you hidden in Christ?

I Am Hidden In Christ

Hiding in Safety

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; but fools despise knowledge and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7, NIV

I live in the high plains of the Midwest, and because of our geography and climate, I kind-of think living in a house without a basement is insane. I know, I know, you can huddle in a bathtub with a mattress over you for protection. But here’s the thing: I’ve seen the remnants of a community slammed by the force of swirling wind. I’ve stood in awe, surveying trees which have been twisted and snapped away from their roots as though they were nothing more than toothpicks. I’ve seen boats that have been tossed up into the air like hacky-sacks and left lying face-down, dented and deformed. And I’ve shuttered at the sight of roofs that have been peeled from their houses like frosting from a cupcake.

Having witnessed the power of an indiscriminate tornado, I appreciate the value of a safe place to hide. When I see a dark, lumpy cloud tinged with green coming my way, I’m headed for cover, and a fiberglass tub attached to some two-by-fours isn’t gonna cut it for me. I’m talking something sunk a good seven feet into the earth and fortified with concrete. I’m headed to the middle of my basement.

I think about that when I look at Proverbs 1:7. What is this “fear of the Lord” stuff? Isn’t God love and safety and salvation? I think the fear of The Lord is knowing the power, the absolute all-encompassing power of God. It’s understanding that He’s holy—set completely apart from sin, and that He is thoroughly just. This is where wisdom begins. See, a person who hasn’t witnessed the devastation of a tornado is more likely to blow off its power. More likely to get themselves into a bad spot. This idea carries forward—a person who does not understand who he is before God, unrepentant and unredeemed, is less likely to kneel before His holiness. But the one who appreciates this power; the one who, in honest humility, fears this God? He is the one who will bow. He is the one who will declare that God is God and he is not. And to come down to it, he is the one who will fall prostrate and cry out, “I am yours. Save me.”

That’s the thing about healthy fear—it drives us to a safe place. The amazing thing is this righteous, fearsome God is also the safe haven for our hearts. His perfect holiness brings together justice and mercy, righteousness and love. So when that repentant soul bows before God in fear, he is lifted to that same God’s knee and brought close to His heart with love. “You are safe here, child. I will keep you hidden in my arms.”

Way better than a concrete basement, right? That’s exactly where I want to be.

I Am Hidden In Christ

Metamorphosis

“Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” ~Romans 7:24-25a, NASB

Can I identify with Paul? Absolutely. And I’m finding that it is often in the lonely desert places in my life that God reveals to me the areas that need work. The hidden spots of anger, resentment, selfishness and conceit. He brings them up to the surface so that I can see them for what they are. Yuck.

I don’t like that. I don’t like to see the ugliness stored up inside of me. In frustration and embarrassment, I cry out to him, “Please take it away!”

A question floats to the top at that moment:  Take the sin, or just the view of that sin? What is it I really want? Disguise or metamorphosis? Because the thing is, real change takes time and investment. By God’s power, for sure, this heart can be molded, but it requires not only my yielding, but also practice. That’s hard.

During a Sunday school lesson this week I was reminded of this slow process of transformation. We studied the butterfly recently, and talked about how God can transform our lives through Christ, just like that caterpillar is transformed from a worm to a winged creature.

In our home, we recently watched the metamorphosis process. We have a crop of black swallowtail caterpillars hatch on my parsley, and my daughter kept one in her bug jar. She fed it, kept its habitat clean, and watched as the little thing ate and grew, and ate and grew–and then finally change.  We noticed a few things while we watched:20140804_071716

  1. The caterpillar consumed the parsley with ravenous hunger. It didn’t stop to take a nap, nor did it deviate from the parsley. It ate only that herb, and it did it with amazing efficiency. Made me wonder, do I hunger for God’s Word like that?
  2. The little thing grew proportionally to its eating. It also began taking on a greenish hue in the spots where it had once been white. It began showing on the outside what it was putting in the inside. Am I putting inside what I want to shine through on the outside?
  3. Once it had nestled in its chrysalis, the waiting began. It took a long time! Daily, the question was, “will it hatch today?” I want to hatch now, but clearly it’s not time. Am I willing to wait for God’s perfect timing?
  4. Amazingly (and I know that most have seen this happen, so it’s nothing new—except it’s still mind-blowing) when that black swallowtail emerged, she looked nothing like yellow and white (greenish) caterpillar. We watched in wonder while she stretched her new wings, wiggled her new antennae, and tested her new, spindly legs. Everything about her had changed—she was brand new! This brought the Psalms to mind: “Why are you downcast, oh my soul? Put your hope in God!”

That kind of transformation takes time.  I’m reminded of the verses we started the week with: “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 3:3-4, NASB)

Who I am in Christ has not yet been entirely revealed. I am hidden, as though in a cocoon, awaiting the day when I will be revealed as I truly am in Him. What a thought! He is not done with me yet.