By Greg Johnson
I used to play hide and seek with my girls. And they weren’t very good at it. I mean, give a 4 year-old 30 seconds to hide, and they will generally find the nearest lamp to hide behind, and the only reason the game lasts is because I pretend not to see them. The most success they would have, however, was when I would choose a hiding place for them. As long as they would sit still and be quiet, the game could go on forever, because it was the perfect place to hide and the sisters would eventually give up. Unfortunately, as grown ups we tend to play a spiritual game of hide and seek with the same success rate. We live secret lives, holding our breath and hoping not to be “found out” by the world around us. Unfortunately, the “lamp” we are hiding behind has left us very exposed and easy to find. We need help with a hiding place in order to be safe. It begs the question: Are you HIDING or HIDDEN?
At times, we all find ourselves hiding. We all have had secrets. And, for some of us, if those secrets were exposed, we would be undone. Seriously undone. Recently, I had several “professional” Christians (senior pastors, worship pastors, student pastors) confide in me their secrets – porn addictions, bouts with alcohol, past unconfessed sin, etc. Several have confessed, “I never pray,” or “I don’t spend time in God’s Word regularly.” In Ephesians 4, Paul tells us to
“…live a life worthy of the calling you received.”(v2)
Unfortunately, for many of us, the “life” Paul talks about here includes our secret life, not just the part on public display. And let me take this to another level: If you are a person of influence in the Christian world – a pastor, worship leader, etc. – this goes double for you. Not only are you responsible for your own walk, but also responsible to protect what you lead. If you have people on your stage or your staff are hiding, it is your spiritual responsibility to deal with it (in love, of course) and bring it to light.
I’m familiar with this story because I was that guy – a pastor who didn’t live up to the calling. And, secrets in my life were symptomatic of a deeply rooted problem: a lack of intimacy with Jesus. Secrets drive us into hiding – hiding from Jesus, hiding from others, living in darkness. It is a scary place to be, there is a duality when we try to justify, minimize or rationalize that light and darkness can co-exist, but deep inside our souls, the Spirit of God is crying out to expose the dark things to the light so they can be expelled. John is very clear that light and darkness cannot live together:
“If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.” (1 John 1:6)
And, this is not just what we consider the “worst” sins. This includes gossip, unforgiveness, apathy, selfishness, fill in the blank. The worst part of trying to live in a perpetual state of hiding is that we are like a 4-year-old hiding behind a lamp: we are already found out, we just don’t know it yet.
No More Hiding. In 1 Corinthians 4:1-2, Paul states,
“So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.”
There are secrets God wants to entrust to me as a servant of Christ. But first, there has to be room in my life to store these secrets. So, here’s the big question today – are my secrets attributed to me or to God? Are there beautiful, light-filled secrets God has planted in me that reveal his character, his nature, his will, or is there no room in my life for those because my life is crowded by my own secrets that I am refusing to expose to the light? I think we all hope God could trust us, but if we want to be trusted with the “secret things of God”, then we must first submit ourselves to the introspection of the light of the Holy Spirit, who calls out sin and helps us rid ourselves of it. Only then are we candidates to be called a servant of Christ. And until then, we are simply posers, playing out a counterfeit Christianity, hiding and hoping no one finds us out. If we want to be effective leaders, we HAVE to be trustworthy servants first. So if you plan to continue hiding, choose another profession, because God will not tolerate it forever.
Hidden With Christ. The process of exposing ourselves to the light, though painful at times, brings complete freedom. There is no greater feeling than knowing I am no longer bound by darkness, but free to hold and share the “secret things of God” he has entrusted to me. And, by the way, I have a new hiding place, given to me by Jesus:
“For you died, and your life is now HIDDEN with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:3)
As long as I am hidden here, and am still and quiet, darkness can’t find me. So, if I am hidden with Christ, I am projecting Jesus, because when people look at me, the “secrets of God”- the Fruit of the Spirit – are coming to life and being lived out. And, I am also protected by Jesus and the enemy can’t touch me. That is good stuff! For me, the choice is clear. How about you?
Here are some questions for you to consider today: Are your secrets attributed to you or God? Are you HIDING or HIDDEN? Are you taking responsibility not only for yourself, but those you lead?
For more information about The David Project, visit our website at thedavidproject.com.