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My Hidden Life

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is 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.

False teaching had crept into the church in Colossae. The Christians there were being urged to adhere strictly to a set of dietary laws and to observe strictly a religious calendar of holy days (Colossians 2.16-23); but Paul is having none of it. He reminds them that when they became Christians two things happened to them in spiritual reality that were symbolised by the baptism that they underwent: first they died with Christ and then, “having been buried with him in baptism … you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead” (Colossians 2.12).

“So however you might feel,” Paul is telling me this morning, “the moment you committed yourself to Jesus and made him Lord of your life, you and he became one and what is true of him became true of you. Has Christ died? Then so have you. Has Christ been buried? Then so have you. Has Christ been raised? Then so have you. Has Christ ascended to the Father? Then so have you.”

So where am I now? “In a very real sense,” says Paul, “you are where Jesus is — in the Father-heart of God.” That is central to this morning’s reading and two things follow from it.

First, I don’t belong to the old world any more, even though my days are presently spent in it. That old world may devise external rules and regulations for living a supposedly God-pleasing life but they have nothing to do with me and I should have nothing to do with them. But, second, I do now belong to the new world — the world that is to come. At the moment, it is a hidden world, just as Jesus is a hidden King; but one day this old world will be transformed and remade as all the hidden energy and love and life of heaven floods into it and Jesus will appear to reign over it in glory and majesty. “And at that point,” says Paul, “the real you — the you that belongs to that new world, a resurrected, re-made, glorious you — will appear too, along with Jesus, because that is where you now are, in the hidden King.”

“Once you really grasp that, Neil,” says Paul to me this morning, “you will have discovered the true path to holy living. Shift your focus from the old world to the new world where the new you is presently hidden away with Jesus and you will find that you start to dance to a different tune, march to a different beat, and think in a completely different way. Your life here and now will begin to resemble and anticipate your hidden life of the world to come.”

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3 comments on “My Hidden Life

  1. Chaz says:

    Neil…

    What world-imposed rules for leading a supposedly God pleasing life are you referring to?

    Surely, we need to live morally and with consideration to our fellow man as Jesus did.

    Can you clarify what you are meaning here?

    Thanks.

    Chaz

    Like

  2. Neil says:

    Hi Chaz. It seems to me that there are two routes open to us as Christians who want to live holy, God-pleasing lives. One is to draw up a set of rules for holy living (or borrow an existing set) and keep tweaking them and adding to them and refining them and above all making sure we don’t break them. But Paul says that that is going back into the slavery from Christ has freed us! The second is to be so wrapped up in Jesus, so devoted to him, having our minds so set on him, that we just do what pleases God without there being any “must” or “musn’t” about our response to people, places, situations and circumstances. Sadly, however, because we find it difficult to enter and to maintain this oneness with Christ, we resort to the moral and ethical rule book to do by law what we should be doing out of love. It may look much the same to those who watch us, but it isn’t.

    I’m sorry that I’m not very good at responding to comments, Chaz. I know a number of recent ones have gone unanswered. The fact is that after I’ve done my two or three hours on Pass the Toast and my morning set-apart time, I am plunged straight into a busy life of accountancy, website design, shopping, cooking and caring for my wife who has MS and is limited in what she can do for herself – and all of that doesn’t leave much free time for debate. I’m very happy to receive comments, of course; and if my postings create real issues for people who read them then I am happy to find time to respond and to help resolve those issues. Though I must say that I am no expert at living the God-life! I am not setting myself up as some kind of guru or spiritual director. This blog is simply my doing what God told me to do just over a year ago – share with anyone who is interested what the Lord shows me each morning as I open his Word.

    Blessings

    Neil

    Like

  3. Chaz says:

    Hi Neil….

    Thanks for replying.

    No problem on replying or not or how soon. I take your blog for what it is. I just from time to time have thoughts that may prompt dialogue so if you can reply, great. If I dont hear from you, it is no big deal. I understand the busy life thing. I have a responsible career, 3 kids, and 2 aging parents.

    I can only imagine the busy-ness of having an ailing wife. Sorry to hear it.

    Thanks for the perepsectives on livng a godly life. I can see the distinction between starting with a list of rules to comply to versus seeking out of a love for God. This is indeed an important distinction.

    We as humans appear to be rue-breakers by nature and then self-blamers and condemmers…. which is what Jesus came to relieve us from.

    Anywya….

    Enjoying the daily toast so thanks.

    Ciao.

    Chaz

    Like

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