My kids and I like to play “hide-and-seek” outside. It’s not your normal lil’ kid game anymore. It’s played over numerous acres, and our hiding abilities have been honed through the years. I no longer catch them by listening for giggles, and they no longer peek their head out and say, “I’m over here, Mommy.” They have gotten much better at hiding. (My hiding isn’t too bad - there was that one time I nearly got stuck…) It’s a good time - by the end, my heart is racing from adrenaline and running from hiding place to hiding place. (It’s at that point I realize how out of shape I am.) Some of us play this game in our real life, too.
I’m guessing a lot of us have places we would rather not go, people we would rather not run into, and questions we fear we will be asked. We avoid the places and people, deny things when asked, and live allowing an undercurrent of fear to exist in our Souls’ depths. I have played this game. Yes, it gets the ole heart racing, too, but it’s no good time. Just as my kids improved in their hiding skills, we too, sharpen our hiding skills, learning ways to camouflage things we don’t want discovered.
As believers, we go back into hiding when we allow our past unrighteous identity to dominate our mind’s perspective. We don’t live out of our new identity and freedom established in Christ. It’s when this past identity is in control that we walk in shame, condemnation, and humiliation, retreating into nooks and crannies.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2 ESV
There is no condemnation for us, no prison sentence hanging over our head, no reason to hide from the “law.” We have been set free from the law and sin through Christ. He took the punishment for everything we so desperately want to forget about. “But you don’t know what I’ve done, Candace.” God does, and this is what He has to say about it:
And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. I Corinthians 6:11 ESV
God doesn’t dance around our sin or ignore it. He takes care of it. PERIOD. We need to keep that old identity quiet under the victorious foot of Christ. But, I get it. We fear being recognized by our past mistakes. I have avoided people, places, and conversations. I have wanted to steer clear of the truth. I have hid. But I finally realized something important - God can’t receive the glory for a victory when we deny the battle ever took place. What’s to be celebrated when we can’t declare we’ve won, been changed, or been set free?
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south. Psalm 107:2-3 ESV
Do we shout from the rooftop our every sin? Thankfully, no. (Some of us get nervous in high places.) Do we place ourselves in compromising or tempting areas to show we overcame? No again. What we need to do is be ready to give an answer for the hope we have. We need to be prepared to tell people about who rescued us - JESUS. When we come across someone struggling, we can encourage them towards their victory in Christ by sharing ours.
...but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,... I Peter 3:15 ESV
When faced with our mistakes, let’s not run and hide. Might we boldly proclaim our redemption through Christ. If someone asks, “Yeah, wasn’t it you that….?” Instead of stepping back into the shadows and responding, “You must be thinking about someone else,” can we work towards saying, “Yes, that was me, but can I tell you about who I am now? Can I tell you about my Jesus? Can I tell you what He can do with a mess?”
Through the years, I noticed others hiding, too. It seems like there are 3 main groups hanging out in those darkened areas - those who like the darkness and want to pursue evil, those who are lost and haven’t been found yet, and believers who have been found but are scared to walk around in the open. Can I remind the believers - when we came to Christ, not only did Jesus wash us clean, but He placed His light within us (John 8:12) - we became His light carriers, no longer meant to hide or be able to.
What good is a light that is hidden? It goes against it’s very purpose, essence, and power. Light is meant to reveal, illuminate, and aid in the growth of life. Light makes hiding difficult, doesn’t it? Who wants to hide with the guy who’s like, “This is a great spot. I’m just going to keep my flashlight on while we wait.” Lights and hiding don’t mix.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16 ESV
When we are confronted with elements of our past we would rather ignore, God can give us courage to face them. He can take our reasons for wanting to disappear and give them a new spin or a happy ending. But if we don’t allow Him to have our shameful things, they remain what they are. Jesus can redeem things - He gives them a purpose, a usefulness.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 ESV
Is everything we go through good? NO! Is this verse true for everyone? Sadly, no. This is for those who love God, granting Him access and permission to do His redeeming work in their lives. He rolls up His sleeves and reworks our messes into something good. I don’t know how He does such an amazing work, but He does. This is one thing we should be willing to share - God’s mighty redeeming work in our lives.
So for those who’ve already been found in Christ - don’t return to the place you were rescued from. It doesn’t make sense to continue hiding once we’ve been found. My kids would think I lost it if I remained hiding after they had discovered me!
If you’re not sure if you have ever been “found,” know that it doesn’t matter how you have failed, what you have struggled with, or how many times you have fallen. It doesn’t matter where you now find yourself. Do you want to be found by Jesus? Be brave and reach up your hand and say, “I’m over here, Jesus.” He’ll be there before you have your arm fully extended. (He’s always known exactly where you were. There is no hiding spot He’s not aware of or can’t get to. He’s just been waiting for you to WANT to be found.)
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13 ESV
For those who want to stay in the dark places - may we pray that their hearts would be softened to Jesus, their eyes might be opened, the lies they have embraced would be loosened, and that they would encounter “light bearers” who would plant seeds, love on them, and draw them one step closer to Jesus.
So we have a choice to make - are we going to deny and avoid OR are we going to proclaim our victory? We can’t do both. We can’t hide and walk around freely. In our hiding we are saying our sin is more powerful than our redemption in Christ. What do you want to say with your life?
Once we take hold of our victory, might we realize it is our turn to “seek.” We join Jesus in finding the lost, the hiding, and the ones that have made their home in the shadows. One reason we were made to be a light was to be able to see those who are residing in darkness. Let them know it is good to be found.
Step into the light.
Out of the shadows,