When something is hidden from you, what do you see? Think about it. The gift hidden in a box with wrapping around it conceals something precious. The object in the box then receives a new name: “present” or “gift.” It doesn’t matter the size or the weight, it has a new definition and a new form of being. It’s still whatever it is inside the box, but the term of its existence has been defined by its concealer. Interesting thought.
I’ve been stuck on a passage in Colossians 3 for a few days now. This is the whole passage in context:
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. –Colossians 3:1-4 (NIV)
The sentences that sandwich this concept of being “hidden with Christ in God” give clear picture as to what our new life should look like and the results in the end.
Now, as a believer, think about that gift and insert your name. It doesn’t matter what size you are, what weight, what you look like, you’ve been gift-wrapped completely with Christ as something special to God. The present He sees when opened or revealed is Jesus! If our lives are hidden in Christ, the power and influence of His life should be all that everyone else around us sees. All there is is the present, the gift, the Christ. But that’s not all.
The beginning of the sentence is most important in being hidden in Christ. Something has to have taken place to allow our lives hide in Him. We must die. Ourselves, our desires, our goals and ambitions, our decided futures have to die in order to be hidden in Him. A few verses back, in chapter 2:20, it says that we’ve died with Christ to the elementary principles or spiritual forces of this world when we’ve chosen to believe in Him. If that be the case, the question is valid: why would we submit to the rules of the world as if we still belonged to it? If I’m not hidden with Christ in God, what difference does the world and it’s rules mean to me in my life? The rules no longer apply. I’ve been redefined, renovated, transformed, re-born, redeemed, and what once was no longer is. I have a new name and my identity is defined by what conceals me: Christ.
So, since I’ve been changed and my old self, or old way of life doesn’t apply any longer, this is what I do: my pursuits, my goals, my mind, all of my heart must be set on what’s most valuable to Christ. And I should live a life consistent with the “gift” I’ve become. My “earthly nature” must die, must get starved to death and no longer live (v 5-11). All the things that once gave me a definition consistent with the world must be removed and replaced. The character of Christ takes over: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, and, most importantly, love (v 12-14).
Now I have to ask myself, and ask you the same thing. When people look at us, what do they see? Are we hidden with Christ? Have we been wrapped up in Him or in the things of the world? What defines us now? What do we need to change in order to keep our minds and hearts set on the things above? What character of Christ must be developed within us?