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.

I Am Hidden In Christ

I Am Hidden in Christ

For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3, NASB

I am revisiting this idea of being hidden in Christ. Largely because, well, to be honest, I’d kind-of like to hide this week. However, running off to a secluded lake all by myself for a few days is not on my possibilities radar, so my solitary retreat must be in spirit.

I’ve been chewing on this verse in Colossians with a bit of perplexity. What did Paul mean when he says that we “are hidden with Christ in God?” That’s an odd statement, don’t you think? I get the “set your mind on things above,” part, but this hidden with Christ in God . . .waiting to be revealed section has tumbled around in my mind with flavor of mystery.

What of a pearl? A pearl is hidden away, it’s beauty and value awaiting revelation. But more than that, it is protected as it is being perfected, kept safe by the strong clamps of the oyster. This is interesting, because that pearl didn’t begin as anything beautiful or valuable. Mark Sprinkle so aptly writes that a “pearl is a treasure of suffering” because it started as a wound. A pearl is an irritant–a speck of dirt–that has been redeemed by the very object upon which it had inflicted pain.

Does this not sound like our Christ? He bore our sins, took our shame and hung on the cross, putting to death death’s demands, and then—how very glorious! He keeps us tucked safe in his fail-safe love. Like that pearl, a transformed treasure, I am hidden with Christ in God. That is far better than any weekend retreat, I think.

I Am Hidden In Christ

Hidden In Christ: A Joint Post

So, if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth.  For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God. …Put to death whatever in you is wordly … Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another.  Just as the Lord has forgiven you, you must also forgive.  Above all, put on love – the perfect bond of unity. Colossians 3:1-3, 5, 12-14 HCSB

From Jen:

There is an incident from my childhood that still resides in my mind, beckoned whenever I think of ‘hiding.’

We were at a gathering involving many other children, and some of the girls were being particularly mean, as older elementary girls can sometimes be. While I have a sharp tongue, a fact that often gets me into trouble, I was a shy child, so I left the scene and found a hiding place. Though I could hear them looking, they didn’t find me, and I spent the rest of the evening in my secret spot.

I don’t remember the details of that night—what was said, who was involved—much of anything, really. All I remember was hiding, and feeling safe where I was hidden. That turns something of a sour memory into one that savors of sweetness, and I find that amazing.

Hiding isn’t always an act of cowardice. It can be one of wisdom, and can offer security. It can also change the outcome of something bad.

Kind of like eternity.

From Susan:

Jen didn’t say what she was hiding behind or under.  But, when the other kids were looking for her, they didn’t see her.  They saw the thing that was concealing her.

From Jen’s perspective, she was secure, hidden, safe. From the mean girls’ perspective, she was just gone, replaced by a large object.

Oh, in my life, may that object be Christ.  May he so overshadow me, that those looking for me will only see Him, not me.  That will only happen when I live out the words of these verses, when I hide my old self in Christ, putting away all that is worldly within me.

When I choose to hide wrath and showcase compassion, when I choose to push down annoyance and put on patience, that’s when I am hidden in Christ, eclipsed by His character.

Today, may His qualities completely hide my own.