Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Hidden Life of the Redeemed

"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 3:3, 4)

An overwhelming sense of surrender came over me as I prayed to the Lord that night. For the first time, I got it. I understood what it meant to follow Jesus. I had been a quote, unquote "Christian" for many years. I had prayed the prayer. I had walked down an aisle. I had been dunked underwater by the preacher. By all accounts, I had made the Spiritual Honor Society in the First Baptist Church of Going Through the Motions. Yet, in my heart, I was still clinging desperately to my self-identity. My rights. My dreams. My ambitions. MY LIFE!

But finally, I did it. I finally just gave up. I surrendered my life to God.

Many mistake this as a call to full-time vocational ministry. Indeed, it is a call to ministry. It is a call to follow Jesus in obedient service. But we often confuse this as a separate call apart from the call to salvation. It is not. We are called to die to ourselves. Our sense of entitlement. Our ambitions. We are called to live in Christ. An eternal exchange takes place. My life for Jesus' life. Paul says, "For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21) Paul has removed himself from the equation altogether. He had a new identity. A new mission. A new direction. A hidden life with Christ.

We are all called to Jesus this way. We are all called to be witnesses of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are called to die so that Jesus Christ will live in and through us. This call is expressed in many different ways. The call, however, is the same for us all. Our lives are now the lives of the hidden life. Hidden with Christ in God. Obedient to Christ. Surrendered. Our lives become Christ.

Oswald Chambers aptly writes that we are to have "no end, no aim, and no purpose but His." We come to Christ for what He can do through us, not simply for what he can do for us. We surrender all. We no longer live for ourselves. Rather, we live the hidden life of the redeemed. This is what it means to truly come to Jesus.

Have we truly removed ourselves from the equation and made Jesus our whole life? This is the call to the hidden life of the redeemed. This is the call to follow Christ Jesus.